Inspirational Barton spurs Marseille
PARIS, France (AFP) — Joey Barton was at the centre of both goals as Marseille bounced back from their crushing midweek defeat to Lyon by clinching a 2-1 win at Brest yesterday.
Elie Baup's men, swept aside 4-1 by Lyon on Wednesday, were back in business inflicting a first home loss of the season on Brest to move up two places into second on 29 points, two behind their midweek tormentors.
Souleymane Diawara put Marseille into a 34th minute lead.
Set up by Barton, the Senegal defender, largely absent in Wednesday's game, broke the deadlock when firing the ball under the crossbar from the edge of the box.
Brest were back on level terms three minutes from the break, with close season signing Dutch striker Charlison Benschop wrong footing Marseille keeper Steve Mandanda off a corner.
The second half was 11 minutes old when Marseille regained the advantage.
Once again Barton was key, the English midfielder picking up Mathieu Valbuena's cross to feed Andre Ayew who poked the ball home past Brest keeper Alexis Thebaux.
Marseille, who dominated most of the game, deservedly held on for a welcome three points.
This was a bright ending to an uncomfortable week for Marseille, some of whose fans were critical of club president Vincent Labrune for openly laughing during their team's defeat to Lyon on images shown on French television.
"Barton's a fresh player, unlike others," said Baup. "He is ready and able to play consecutive matches.
"He was a key passer and on the go throughout the game, showing an ability to play forward typical of English players."
Elsewhere, strugglers Troyes relinquished a two-goal lead as they fell 3-2 at home to Rennes, extending their winless run to six matches.
First-half strikes from Benjamin Nivet and Stephane Darbion gave the side second from bottom a 2-0 advantage at the break before Romain Alessandrini pulled one back for Rennes three minutes after the restart.
But two goals in the final 10 minutes from Julien Feret and Jonathan Pitroipa completed the Rennes comeback, as Frederic Antonetti's side recorded their seventh win in nine matches.
Toulouse, meanwhile, are at Lorient in Sunday's late game.
On Saturday, Lyon underlined their title credentials as they beat defending champions Montpellier 1-0, while chasing Paris Saint-Germain slumped to a 2-1 defeat at Nice.