INTERNATIONAL | LIGUE 1
Saint Etienne win derby as Marseille secure away win
Saint-Etienne reignited their quest for European football with a 1-0 win over bitter rivals Lyon in the Rhone-Alpes derby, while Marseille continued their impressive away form with a 3-1 victory at Caen.
Saint-Etienne reignited their quest for European football with a 1-0 win over bitter rivals Lyon in Sunday's feisty Rhone-Alpes derby, while Marseille continued their impressive away form in Ligue 1 with a 3-1 victory at Caen.
Norway striker Alexander Soderlund marked his home debut with the decisive goal 14 minutes from time at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard to leave Saint-Etienne just two points off the Champions League places.
For Lyon, who exited the League Cup in midweek following a 2-1 defeat at holders Paris Saint-Germain, this latest loss simply yielded another disappointment in a season full of setbacks.
Both sides had entered Sunday's clash level on 29 points and looking to keep in touch with the European places, and it was Lyon who largely bossed the first half.
On-loan striker Jean-Christophe Bahebeck tried to catch out Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes with an early free-kick, but the visitors were on top after that as Stephane Ruffier twice thwarted Rachid Ghezzal, the second stop a stunning low save just before the break.
Ruffier then palmed away a Clement Grenier free-kick after half-time, before the crossbar came to Saint-Etienne's rescue as Ghezzal's cross was diverted towards his own goal by Kevin Theophile-Catherine.
But it was the hosts who made the breakthrough on 76 minutes when a stray pass from Corentin Tolisso was pounced upon by Kevin Monnet-Paquet, who slipped in Soderlund for the Norwegian to notch his first goal for his new club.
Earlier, Marseille snapped a four-match winless run in the league as they claimed a fifth victory in six away games.
Marseille arrived at the Stade Michel d'Ornano unbeaten in seven league matches, although they had drawn their last four outings, and grabbed a 12th-minute lead when goal-line technology was used to determine that Michy Batshuayi's shot had crossed the line after coming back off the post.
Batshuayi should have added a second with the goal at his mercy a few minutes later, but the Belgian atoned for that miss by setting up Georges-Kevin Nkoudou to steer in Marseille's second on the hour.
Ronny Rodelin pulled one back for the hosts after beating Steve Mandanda to a free-kick, but Bouna Sarr erased any hopes of a comeback as he volleyed home Alaixys Romao's inviting cross on 83 minutes.
The victory pushed Marseille up to eighth, five points adrift of third-place Angers, with Caen dropping to seventh.
Monaco moved back into second place in the table after winning 2-0 at Lorient to stretch their unbeaten run in the league to eight games.
Thomas Lemar gave Monaco a 53rd-minute lead in Brittany before Joao Moutinho curled home an exquisite free-kick to leave Leonardo Jardim's men 21 points behind runaway leaders Paris Saint-Germain.
PSG recorded their ninth consecutive win in all competitions and extended their club record unbeaten league run to 30 matches dating back to last March as Zlatan Ibrahimovic's 73rd-minute strike was enough for them to see off Toulouse 1-0 on Saturday.