Gignac double sends Marseille to top of Ligue 1 table
PARIS (AP) — Marseille striker Andre-Pierre Gignac scored twice more in a 3-0 win over Rennes that provisionally lifted his club to the top of the French league on Saturday.
Gignac, now the league's top scorer with six goals ahead of Paris Saint-Germain's Zlatan Ibrahimovic, opened with a spectacular scissors-kick in the 50th minute before doubling his team's lead with a well-taken shot from the edge of the box past Rennes goalkeeper Benoit Costil in the 63rd.
Substitute Romain Alessandrini sealed Marseille's win in added time with a superb free kick.
Marseille's fourth straight league win put it level with Bordeaux but with a better goal difference after six rounds.
"After four consecutive wins, people are going to start talking about us," said Gignac, enjoying his best start to a season.
The France international, who missed out on the World Cup, brushed off comparisons with Ibrahimovic, and instead praised the work ethic implemented by coach Marcelo Bielsa.
"I can't compare myself with Ibrahimovic, he is a world-class player," Gignac said. "But we are working very hard at training during the week and, come the weekend, we just want to enjoy."
Third-place Lille can overtake Marseille with a win against Montpellier on Sunday.
Making his debut for Metz, former France international Florent Malouda showed flashes of his heyday as the newly promoted side beat Bastia 3-1.
Nantes moved up to fifth place, three points behind Marseille, after beating Nice 2-1. Toulouse drew 3-3 at home with Caen, and Reims posted its first away win, beating Lorient 1-0 courtesy of Benjamin Moukandjo's winner.
On a damp and hot afternoon, Marseille dominated early although Rennes created the first chance after just three minutes when forward Paul-Geoges Ntep was picked out by Abdoulaye Doucoure on the left side, only to see his low shot parried away by goalkeeper Steve Mandanda.
The hosts enjoyed most of the possession but Marseille's attacks were too disorganized, with Florian Thauvin struggling again to be a factor and wasting Dimitri Payet's creative work in the midfield.
Left unmarked in the box, winger Andre Ayew had a good chance but his header from Payet's free kick ended over the bar in the 21st. The rest of the first half was uneventful as Rennes defended well to keep Marseille off the score sheet and looked dangerous on the break.
Striker Ola Toivonen even thought he gave the visitors the lead at the stroke of halftime when he headed home from Ntep's free kick, but his goal was disallowed for an offside position.
Gignac opened the scoring five minutes into the second half with his first home goal this season after Costil failed to clear a cross from Brice Djadjedje, sending the ball straight into Gignac, who volleyed home.
Rennes responded with a swift counterattack but Doucoure lost his one-on-one with Mandanda as the keeper denied his shot with a right-footed save.
"We had the chance to lead 1-0 and could not take it while they did not create in the first half," said Rennes defender Sylvain Armand after his team's four-match unbeaten run came to an end. "Then we missed the chance to equalize and our level dropped."
Gignac gave Marseille more room to breathe following another bad clearance from Rennes defenders, controlling the ball outside the box and finding the right corner with a low shot. Former Rennes player Alessandrini's curled free kick then left Cosil stranded to top off a fine win.