• Payet opens Marseille account with win

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    PARIS: Dimitri Payet scored his first goal in his first Marseille start following his controversial return from West Ham in Wednesday’s (Thursday in Manila) 2-0 victory at home to Guingamp in Ligue 1.

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    Bafetimbi Gomis headed his 14th goal of the season to hand Marseille a first-half lead before Payet’s deflected 76th-minute free-kick secured the points at the Stade Velodrome.

    “Payet was decisive, he proved he’s getting stronger,” said Marseille coach Rudi Garcia.

    “He needs to find his rhythm and nothing is better for that than starting a match.”

    Olympique de Marseille’s French forward Dimitri Payet reacts after scoring the second goal during the French Ligue 1 football match between Olympique de Marseille (OM) and Guingamp at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille on Thursday. AFP PHOTO

    Earlier, Wylan Cyprien’s scorching strike kept Nice within three points of leaders Monaco following their 1-0 victory over Saint-Etienne.

    Cyprien rifled in the only goal after just seven minutes at the Allianz Riviera as Nice bounced back from Saturday’s heavy defeat at Cote d’Azur and title rivals Monaco.

    Nice moved back level on points with second-placed Paris Saint-Germain after just a second win in six league matches.

    “We produced a good first half. We scored a very good goal and had some good chances after that,” said Nice boss Lucien Favre. “It’s a pity we couldn’t get that second goal because it was a long match afterwards.”

    Alexandre Lacazette scored his 19th goal of the season as Lyon produced an encouraging response in the wake of last weekend’s damaging Rhone derby defeat to thrash Nancy 4-0.

    Mathieu Valbuena curled in a superb 39th-minute opener with his final touch before hobbling off injured at Parc OL, while Nabil Fekir grabbed a second before half-time.

    Lacazette then struck from the penalty spot after substitute Memphis Depay was fouled in the area, with the ex-Manchester United winger netting his first goal for his new club to cap the rout.

    “The result does us good because we needed to get a win after three straight losses. We still have a long way to go, though,” said Lyon coach Bruno Genesio, as the home fans held up a series of banners venting their unhappiness at recent performances.

    “I completely understand the dissatisfaction of our supporters because we haven’t done everything since the start of the season to make them happy like they deserve,” he added.

    On Tuesday, first-half goals from Kamil Glik and Kylian Mbappe ensured Monaco remained top of the table after a hard-fought 2-1 win at Montpellier.

    Paris Saint-Germain needed an injury-time winner from Brazilian Lucas to secure a 2-1 victory over Lille after a goalkeeping blunder from Alphonse Areola allowed Nicolas de Preville to cancel out Edinson Cavani’s league-leading 23rd goal of the season.

    AFP

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