Ligue 1: Marseille win to close in on leaders Lyon

October 19, 2008

PARIS, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Olympique Marseille moved just one point behind Ligue 1 leaders Olympique Lyon with a 3-1 win at struggling Valenciennes on Sunday.

Ivory Coast striker Bakary Kone opened the scoring with a header on 13 minutes, following up after an effort by Mathieu Valbuena bounced off the crossbar.

France forward Hatem Ben Arfa raced into the box and skipped past Valenciennes keeper Nicolas Penneteau to double the advantage with 17 minutes left.

Valenciennes, who were under pressure throughout the match, managed to pull one back through striker Gregory Pujol following a swift counter-attack before substitute midfielder Charles Kabore sealed Marseille's win in added time.

The same fixture sparked a bribery scandal 15 years ago, when it emerged that Marseille had approached Valenciennes players to throw a match in the northern city in 1993.

Apart from their 1-0 win that year, which was later annulled, Marseille, who were stripped of the title and demoted to the second division over the affair, had not won in Valenciennes in 30 years.

Marseille, the only undefeated side after nine games, climb to second place on 19 points, one point behind seven-times champions Lyon, who were held to a 2-2 home draw by Lille on Saturday.

Surprise package Le Mans moved into third, two further points adrift, with a 2-0 home win over lowly Nancy on Sunday.

Nancy midfielder Pascal Berenguer put Le Mans ahead against the run of play when he deflected a corner into his own net on 33 minutes. Belgian forward Roland Lamah wrapped up the win from close range on 65 minutes.