Troyes shake things up in France
Troyes’ Benjamin Nivet celebrates after scoring
PARIS, France ● Marseille went down to a shock 1-0 loss at tailenders Troyes on Sunday to leave the southerners and France’s only European champions ruing a missed chance to return to top spot in Ligue 1.
Instead, a Benjamin Nivet goal two minutes from time at the Stade de l’Aube gifted Troyes their first win of the season and left Paris Saint Germain top of the heap on goal difference with both sides on 19 points from nine matches.
Marseille had only themselves to blame as they went to sleep at a corner and Nivet drove past keeper Steve Mandanda, who initially flapped at the ball and failed to clear.
Loic Remy, who had earlier missed a header from point blank range, had the ball in the net for the visitors moments later but his effort was chalked off for offside.
Things got worse for Marseille with the news that striker Pierre-Andre Gignac, who had to make way for Remy midway through the opening period, was likely to be out for several weeks after suffering an ankle injury that saw him leave the action on crutches.
Marseille, just one point from their past three matches, trail PSG, who Saturday thanked a second-half goal from Kevin Gameiro for a 1-0 home success over promoted Reims.
PSG, whose Italian goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu saved a penalty from Diego Rigonato, have not won the crown since 1984 but are hoping they can end their drought after two summers of huge cash injections by their Qatari owners.
One club which could do with such support are reigning champions Montpellier, whose nightmare campaign continues following a 2-1 loss Saturday at Rennes.
Montpellier landed their first ever title in May but since losing star men such as top striker Olivier Giroud the southerners’ form has nosedived.
Saturday’s loss saw Montpellier suffer a fifth defeat in nine games and they now stand in the bottom five after Jean II Makoun and Mevlut Erding scored for Rennes with Younes Belhanda’s penalty riposte not enough.
Sparks flew in Sunday’s feisty derby encounter between Corsican sides Ajaccio and Bastia, who parted 0-0 for a draw which left both in midtable, but only after a punch-up saw the match briefly halted.
Neither side will have much bearing on the title race, but fans of both outfits see their derbies as a chance at least to bask in some local glory and the atmosphere boiled over in the closing stages at the Francois-Coty stadium after Johan Cavalli of hosts Ajaccio and Bastia’s Gael Angoula were sent off.
The pair’s clash sparked brawling among their clubmates which spilled over to both benches.
Referee Laurent Duhamel called a halt for several minutes as flares were thrown on the terraces.
Lyon are third, meanwhile, a point off the leading pair after Bafetimbi Gomis scored the only goal against Brest.