Marseille beats Brest to keep pressure on Lyon
PARIS (AP) -- Center half Souleymane Diawara and winger Andre Ayew both scored as Marseille won 2-1 at Brest on Sunday to move two points behind French leader Lyon and knock struggling Paris Saint-Germain out of the top three places.
Marseille took the lead in the 35th minute when midfielder Joey Barton pulled the ball back for Diawara to score with a powerful shot into the top corner.
After Dutch striker Charlison Benschop equalized in the 43rd, Barton also provided the pass for Ayew to grab the winner in the 57th as Marseille bounced back from a 4-1 home thrashing by Lyon.
"I was hoping for a reaction after the Lyon game. It was a good one, and the players fought hard in difficult conditions,'' Marseille coach Elie Baup said. "It's a shame we didn't get a third goal as we had our chances, but our commitment was brilliant.''
Barton was making only his third league appearance since joining from Queens Park Rangers in the offseason.
"Barton is fresh, he can keep on playing,'' Baup said. "He has that ability to push forward.''
The fiery midfielder had to sit out the first 12 league games after the Football League upheld a lengthy ban by the English Football Association because of Barton's violent behavior toward three Manchester City players on the final day of last season.
Barton will become even more important in the next few games as midfielder Benoit Cheyrou faces a spell out after pulling a groin muscle late in the first half.
"He will have further tests, but it's always a worry when it's a groin problem,'' Baup said. "We'll see.''
PSG, which lost 2-1 at Nice on Saturday, is now in fourth place behind third-place Saint-Etienne on goal difference.
Meanwhile, Rennes came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at lowly Troyes and climb up to seventh place.
Veteran playmaker Benjamin Nivet gave Troyes the lead midway through the first half and midfielder Stephane Darbion doubled the home side's lead in the 40th.
But midfielder Romain Alessandrini continued his fine run of form and pulled a goal back in the 48th - his fourth goal in the past five games - before wingers Julien Feret and Jonathan Pitroipa scored a goal each in the last 10 minutes to seal the comeback.
Alessandrini scored with a free kick that deflected off defender Florian Jarjat, while Feret curled the ball expertly into the top right corner from the edge of the penalty area. With Troyes pushing forward in numbers, Rennes broke quickly and Pitroipa finished coolly after racing clean through.
"We went through all the emotions ... We're unpredictable, we're capable of the best and the worst,'' Rennes coach Frederic Antonetti said. "We made mistakes that we absolutely have to fix. We were lucky enough to score right at the start of the second half, and that gave us confidence.''
Rennes is only one point behind PSG, while Troyes remains in 19th place and is already seven points behind 18th-place Sochaux.
Also, mid-table Lorient bounced back from last weekend's defeat at Bastia to beat eighth-place Toulouse 1-0 at home.
Midfielder Benjamin Corgnet scored on the stroke of halftime after turning Jeremie Aliadiere's cross from the right into the top corner.
"We needed to take the three points, which is what we did, even though it was far from perfect,'' Lorient goalkeeper Fabien Audard said. "We'll make the most of this win and try and improve our form away from home.''