Ghana's Ayew scores as Marseille climb to second

Reuters , Sunday 2 Dec 2012

Ghana’s Andre Ayew on target as Marseille claim a 2-1 victory over Stade Brest at the French Ligue 1

Marseille's forward Andre Ayew of Ghana reacts with teammates Jo Barton, left, and Mathieu Valbuena, right, after scoring the second goal during their French League One soccer match against Brest, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012 (Photo: AP)


Joey Barton delivered his best performance so far with Olympique Marseille on Sunday, setting up both of his team's goals in a 2-1 win at Stade Brest that moved the visitors up to second place in Ligue 1

Centre back Souleymane Diawara and winger Andre Ayew scored either side of the break off neat passes from the Englishman as Marseille trimmed Olympique Lyon's lead at the top of the table to two points.

Marseille have 29 points from 15 games, with leaders Lyon on 31 and third-placed St Etienne and Paris St Germain both on 26.

Charlison Benschop scored a first half equaliser for Brest, who remained 14th on 17 points after losing to a side who were routed 4-1 by Lyon earlier in the week.

"We fought hard for this victory on a heavy pitch and against a very gallant opponent," Marseille coach Elie Baup told French channel beIN Sport. "We create chances in all our game, even away. But we have to be more efficient."

Marseille outclassed their hosts in the first half but wasted numerous chances before Diawara put them ahead in the 34th.

Morgan Amalfitano and Mathieu Valbuena could have made it 2-0 soon after but goalkeeper Alexis Thebaux kept his side in the game.

Brest then seized their chance, with Benschop equalising in the 42nd minute with a point-blank header after Marseille fullback Jeremy Morel had cleared off the line.

Barton, on loan from Premier League Queens Park Rangers after serving a 12 match ban, helped put Marseille deservedly back ahead in the 56th when he grabbed the ball in the midfield and found Ayew after a fine one-two with Valbuena.

Brest pushed hard for a late equaliser but goalkeeper Steve Mandanda parried away a long-range Benoit Lesoimier effort 13 minutes from time while Morel performed more stoppage-time heroics on the goal line.

Seventh-placed Toulouse visit FC Lorient, currently 11th, while ninth-placed Stade Rennes travel to second-from-bottom Troyes in later matches.

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