Marseille beats Rennes 3-1 to stay top of league

Associated Press Modified: September 2, 2012 at 4:33 pm •  Published: September 2, 2012
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PARIS (AP) — Andre-Pierre Gignac maintained his fine form by scoring another crucial goal as Marseille beat Rennes 3-1 on Sunday to return to the top of the French league, while big-spending Paris Saint-Germain won its first match with a 2-1 victory at Lille.

PSG needed two goals from star signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the first after just 27 seconds, and it was welcome relief for under-pressure coach Carlo Ancelotti following three straight draws. Ibrahimovic is the league's top scorer with four goals, one more than Gignac.

Mocked by critics last year for his lack of fitness and excess weight, Gignac has bounced back with a vengeance this season. He scored the winning goal away to Montpellier in the last round and he also set up the opening goal for right back Jeremy Morel on Sunday as Marseille extended its perfect record.

"He has got himself into good shape," Marseille coach Elie Baup said. "He is very motivated and is showing signs of confidence."

Marseille, which has been selling players in a bid to stave off mounting debts, has 12 points from four games — two more than Lyon.

"We feel that we have a real collective strength this year. It's always easier when it's like that," Morel told television channel BeIn Sport. "We wanted to start the season in the best way possible. If we carry on like this, I think that will do us."

With the match poised at 1-1, Gignac struck in the 84th minute with a stunning strike into the top corner from the edge of the penalty area after Rennes had failed to properly clear the ball.

"It was a top-class goal. I hope he continues to keep scoring," Baup said. "He tries shots like that in training. It was a great goal but it doesn't surprise me because I know he can put them away."

Marseille took the lead in the 35th when Gignac got behind the Rennes defense and his cross was turned in by Morel.

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