Marseille on top after 10-year wait
Renato Civelli and Brandao fired Marseille to a 2-0 victory over Nantes to shoot Eric Gerets' men to the top of the championship for the first time in ten years. Argentinian defender Civelli netted ten minutes after the break, and Brazilian Brandao four minutes later, knocking seven-times reigning champions Lyon off their perch. The 3-0 victory of Laurent Blanc's Bordeaux at Le Havre, which had put them top earlier today, meant Lyon were relegated further down to third spot.
Marseille, who beat Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 at the Parc des Princes last weekend and who moved into the UEFA Cup quarter-finals in midweek at the expense of Ajax, now sit proudly at the top of the table for the first time since the 1989/99 season. Blanc, who had been in France's FIFA World Cup™-winning squad earlier that season, was an integral part of the Marseille side which reached the UEFA Cup final and lost by a point to Bordeaux in the French championship under coach Rolland Courbis.
Back to the present, it was Dutchman Boudewijn Zenden who created both goals for Marseille against Nantes. His freekick found the head of Civelli for the first goal and then another cross shortly afterwards meant Brandao converted another header for the second.
Marseille have 55 points, two more than both Bordeaux and Lyon, and three more than Lille and Paris Saint-Germain, who visit Toulouse on 22 March. Also on Sunday, Lyon have the chance to regain top spot in their home match against Sochaux.
This form gives Gerets' men hope of a successful season run-in, though they will surely hope to improve their home record of just seven league wins out of 14 at the Velodrome stadium this season. Blanc had said before the Marseille result was known: "Our sitting on top of the league is no fluke. The notion of winning the title is not taboo to me.
"On the other hand, I would say that perhaps realistically we do not have the capability of winning it, but perhaps I will have a different opinion with four or five matches to go to the end of the championship."
Meanwhile, mid-table Monaco had a useful away win, with South Korean Park Chu-young on target in a 1-0 victory at Nancy.