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Mandanda saves keep Marseille top in France

SoccerNews in Ligue 1 30 Aug 2008

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Marseille keeper Steve Mandanda made two crucial saves in the last five minutes to ensure a 2-1 victory at home to Sochaux, keeping them top of the French league championship on Saturday.

Marseille were cruising to victory through goals by Karim Ziani and Baky Kone but Mevlud Erding pulled one back on a counter attack and the same player, through and one-on-one with Mandanda with a chance for an equaliser, saw his shot brilliantly saved by the leg of the France international keeper.

Then just before the final whistle, Mandanda made a reflex save low down to his right on the goalline, from an Erding header, to once more keep Marseille's one-goal advantage.

A modest Mandanda told Orange Foot television at the end of the match: “I just tried to play to my very best. At 2-0 we started to play at a lower standard. I think we were a bit scared and could have finished the match better.”

Paris Saint Germain put last week's stuttering draw with Sochaux behind them with a 1-0 defeat of Caen to place Paul Le Guen's side in sixth spot.

Le Guen and the capital side's supporters couldn't have wished for a better start when Guillaume Hoarau shot home from close range by the near post from Jerome Rothen's cross from the left in the fifth minute.

PSG should have doubled their advantage in the 33rd minute when Horau, back after a loan spell last season at Le Havre, was set up perfectly again, this time by Ludovic Giuly, but with the goalmouth gaping he conspired to miss the unmissable.

PSG new boy, Serbia international Mateja Kezman, made his debut as an 89th minute substitute for Horau.

“We had chances to make it a clearer win,” said Le Guen. “I regret not benig able to hold on to the ball better but overall I'm satisfied.”

He had praise for the goalscorer saying: “I admire Horau's defensive play and he gave us a precious lift with the set pieces.”

PSG jumped from 11th to sixth, two points behind second-placed Le Mans who handed out a 4-1 drubbing to Nantes to make it three wins from three.

Hosts Nantes, who sacked their coach Michel Der Zakarian this week, took the lead in the 21st minute via Guirane Ndaw, but that was cancelled out two minutes later by Norwegian Thorstein Helstad.

From then on it was all plainsailing for the visitors with Modibo Maiga, Mathieu Coutadeur, and Gervinho in injury time making it a night to remember for new manager Yves Bertucci's side.

Nice, 2-0 victors over Valenciennes, and Grenoble, who beat Monaco with a 19th minute goal from striker Daniel Moreira, are also unbeaten and lying third and fourth on goal difference.

Elsewhere Auxerre came away from their visit to Lorient with a 2-0 win and Nancy came from behind to see off Le Havre 2-1.

Sunday's programme features perennial champions Lyon taking on Saint Etienne in the local derby with Bordeaux making the trip north to Lille.

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