Marseille beats Montpellier 2-0 and remains 2nd in the French championship

Marseille extended their winning streak to seven games in all competitions to consolidate second place in the French league with a 2-0 victory over Montpellier on Sunday.

Amine Harit set up Senegal striker Bamba Dieng for the opener in the ninth minute. Turkish winger Cengiz Under doubled the lead with a penalty in the 19th minute after Montpellier midfielder Jordan Ferri brought down Gerson. Montpellier goalkeeper Jonas Omlin was sent off in the 90th minute for a foul on Luis Henrique outside the area.

Marseille edged runaway leaders Paris Saint-Germain by 12 points, but held on to a three-point cushion over third-placed Rennes.

The two top French clubs enter the group stage of the Champions League while the third-placed club advances to the third qualifying round of the lucrative European competition.

“We are in very good form,” Marseille midfielder Matteo Guendouzi told Amazon Prime Video. “We have really good games now. We will be ready for the final sprint.

Also on Sunday, Nice’s Champions League hopes took a hit after a 3-0 loss to 10-man Lens left the side fifth, five points behind Rennes.

Lens were down to just 10 players in the 17th minute when wing-back Massadio Haidara was sent off for kicking Youcef Atal as he attempted a clearance.

Unhappy with the referee’s decision, the Lensois supporters threw projectiles on the field, forcing the stewards to use a net in the 34th minute to protect Nice striker Amine Gouiri, who took a free kick.

Lensois substitute Arnaud Kalimuendo scored against the run of play with a slipped shot in the 51st. Malian international Cheick Doucoure added a second goal by rolling into the top corner in the 55th minute. Kalimuendo thwarted the offside trap to make it 3-0 in the 67th minute.

Nice themselves finished with just nine players as Mario Lemina received a second yellow card for a foul on Doucoure in the 57th minute, and Brazilian centre-back Dante received a red card for a scissor tackle on Kalimuendo in time stop.

“We conceded two goals at 11 against 10 because we thought we no longer needed to defend and we didn’t respect the game,” Nice coach Christophe Galtier told Canal Plus television. “We played a Lens team made up of competitors, Lens played a Nice team made up of tourists.”

Lens climbs to eighth place, four points behind Nice and the Europa Conference League playoff spot.

Fourth-placed Strasbourg extended their unbeaten streak to nine games by drawing 1-1 with Lyon in mid-table.

Strasbourg striker Ludovic Ajorque knocked down a high ball for Ibrahima Sissoko, who took advantage of defensive confusion to pass the ball past Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes in the 20th minute. Cameroonian winger Karl Toko Ekambi equalized in the 90th minute by converting a cross from Leo Dubois.

Strasbourg currently hold the Europa League spot but are only four points away from qualifying for the Champions League. The team’s best finish in the last 20 seasons was 10th in 2020.

Sixth-placed Monaco edged Troyes 2-1 with goals from Caio Henrique and Kevin Volland to move within a point of the Europa League play-off spot.

Lille drew 1-1 with Angers to lose ground in the race for European places, trailing Monaco by two points. Angers took the lead thanks to an own goal from Lille defender Tiago Djalo in the 65th minute. But Kosovo winger Edon Zhegrova equalized with a long shot into the top corner in the 74th minute.

In the Breton derby, Brest captain Brendan Chardonnet salvaged a 1-1 draw by converting a rebound in the 67th to cancel out Nantes striker Randal Kolo Muani’s 12th league goal in the 11th. The game was suspended twice because fans threw flares onto the pitch in the first half and the pitch was then overrun with fans in the second half.

Bordeaux ended a four-game drought to beat Metz 3-1 and move within two points of safety and one point of a relegation playoff spot. The hosts rallied from a 1-0 deficit with goals from Portugal winger Ricardo Mangas, Senegal international M’Baye Niang and South Korea striker Hwang Ui-jo.

It was a third consecutive defeat for Metz, which fell to last place.

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