Marseille are a step closer to repeating as French champions after a 4-2 win over Nice moved them top of the Ligue 1 table on Wednesday.
It was a family affair at the Stade Velodrome as Ghana international Andre Ayew scored a hat-trick and younger brother Jordan added another in the second half, ending Nice’s six-game unbeaten run in convincing fashion.
The win, four days after Marseille became the first team in history to retain the Coupe de la Ligue, moves Didier Deschamps’ men one point ahead of Lille on the table with six games left in the run-in.
Lille had to have feared this day was coming after taking just two points from their past three games, allowing their lead on the table to be whittled down as Marseille surged.
But perhaps the title hopefuls would have allowed themselves a small sigh of relief as Marseille went into the break locked in a 1-1 stalemate with Nice, after Abdou Traore cancelled out the elder Ayew’s goal on the half-hour.
Ayew was in no mood to be generous however, restoring Marseille’s lead on the hour on an assist from his sibling.
The younger Ayew, who had replaced Andre Gignac in the 58th minute, then found the net on his accord 12 minutes from injury time as Marseille took a commanding 3-1 lead.
Ayew’s hat-trick goal in stoppage time gave the hosts an insurmountable three-goal buffer, one that Argentinean defender Renato Civelli pegged back to two with a consolation goal before the final whistle.
Elsewhere, a late winner from France international Yoann Gourcuff handed Lyon a thrilling 3-2 win over visiting Montpellier in a seesawing battle at the Stade de Gerland.
Brazilian midfielder Ederson put Lyon ahead in the 23rd minute, but the hosts could only hold on to the lead for six minutes before Oliver Giroud struck for Montpellier.
The visitors, coming into the match on a low after losing to Marseille in the league cup final on Saturday, showed plenty of heart to get back into the contest once more after Lisandro Lopez found the net for Lyon 10 minutes after the break.
Souleymane Camara drew Montpellier level once more in the 84th minute, but there was still time for former Bordeaux midfielder Gourcuff to find the net once more for the hosts in the final seconds before stoppage time.
Lyon, third on the table, now sit within four points of Lille and five of the title, keeping alive their hopes of securing their eighth league trophy from under Marseille’s nose.
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