Marseille maintain strong start, Lyon slip up in rain
© AFP

Marseille continued their excellent start to the Ligue 1 season on Saturday with a hard-earned 1-0 win away to Valenciennes in France's far north.

OM needed another goal from Andre-Pierre Gignac to finally break down the home defence, as the in-form striker turned in the loose ball with just five minutes remaining after Valenciennes goalkeeper Nicolas Penneteau had failed to hold Andre Ayew's header.

Marseille have struggled in Valenciennes in recent years and saw their run of six straight victories at the start of last season ended with a comprehensive 4-1 loss at the Stade du Hainaut.

"At the start of the season it is important to get points on the board and it also helps us prepare for a difficult month of September when the games will come thick and fast," Marseille coach Elie Baup said, whose side entertain Monaco next weekend.

"We got a spanking here last year and we didn't want a repeat of that."

A repeat of such a defeat never looked on the cards, as Marseille created the most of what chances there were.

Gignac chipped wide with Penneteau off his line in the 20th minute, while Mathieu Valbuena volleyed just over shortly before the interval.

Baup threw on recent signing Saber Khalifa for his debut for the final 11 minutes and the game finally came to life.

There was a huge escape for the visitors when Steve Mandanda saved from Mathieu Dossevi before Aurelian Chitu somehow failed to net the follow-up, and Gignac made Valenciennes pay moments later when he netted his third goal in as many games.

Opa Nguette then squandered another glorious chance for the hosts as OM hung on for the win.

Lyon drop first points of season
Lyon could have gone back to the top on goal difference if they had beaten Reims, but Remi Garde's side endured another nightmare evening at the Stade de Gerland.

After losing 2-0 at home to Real Sociedad in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League play-off on Tuesday to severely compromise their chances of qualifying for the group stage, OL failed to reproduce the form that had seen them win their first two Ligue 1 games of the season in style.

They had struggled to create chances in the first half before the ceaseless downpour forced the officials to delay the start of the second half by 35 minutes.

When play finally recommenced, Yoann Gourcuff almost got the breakthrough from a fiercely struck free-kick and then Alexandre Lacazette hit the bar from close range.

The hosts were then awarded a penalty when substitute Jordan Ferri was bundled over in the box, but Clement Grenier contrived to blast the award over the bar.

Reims then twisted the knife by snatching all three points when Odair Fortes' cross from the left deflected off Milan Bisevac and looped into the net.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Rennes moved up to fifth with their second win in three games under new coach Philippe Montanier as Portuguese striker Nelson Oliveira scored twice in a 2-1 win away to Evian in Annecy.

Bordeaux recorded their first win of the campaign, beating Bastia 1-0 courtesy of a beautifully-struck Henri Saivet free-kick in the first half, while Montpellier also grabbed a morale-boosting victory.

The 2012 champions came from behind to beat ten-man Sochaux 2-1 with Vitorino Hilton scoring a marvellous equaliser before Siaka Tiene's injury-time clincher.

And promoted Guingamp claimed their first points of the campaign with a 2-0 win against Lorient in a Brittany derby, last season's second-tier top scorer Mustapha Yatabare scoring both goals.

Saint-Etienne go to Lille and Ajaccio host Nice on Sunday before reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain, who have drawn their opening two matches, travel to promoted Nantes.