Marseille retains league after drawing with PSG

Associated Press Modified: October 7, 2012 at 4:32 pm •  Published: October 7, 2012
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PARIS (AP) — Marseille kept hold of first place in the French league on Sunday after drawing 2-2 with bitter rival Paris Saint-Germain, with strikers Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Andre-Pierre Gignac both scoring twice with well-taken goals in a pulsating first half.

PSG would have overtaken Marseille for first place with a win, but was let down by poor defending and had Ibrahimovic to thank for gaining a point that maintained its unbeaten start to the league season — although it remains three points behind Marseille after eight games.

"It's not a bad result," said PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti, who claimed his players were tired after Wednesday's 1-0 loss to Porto in the Champions League.

"We didn't play a great match, nothing exceptional," Ancelotti added. "I think the key was that we could have controlled the game better after our second goal. We didn't play with enough intensity."

Marseille was heavily beaten 4-1 by Valenciennes last weekend, but a resounding win in the Europa League on Thursday boosted confidence and Elie Baup's team started strongly against a lackluster PSG.

"We showed that we could rival PSG. A lot of people thought we would lose this match 4-0 or 5-0," Marseille midfielder Benoit Cheyrou said. "The league lasts a long time and we've started well."

PSG, which lost the corresponding match 3-0 last season, looked static in midfield and failed to close down Marseille properly, or get the ball up to Ibrahimovic early on.

Gignac punished PSG in the 17th minute. Andre Ayew won possession in midfield and fed the ball to Gignac some 35 yards (meters) from goal. Gignac pushed the ball inside defender Christophe Jallet and then outside of him before hitting a diagonal shot that went past goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu's outstretched hand.

Ibrahimovic then scored two stunning goals in the 23rd and 25th to send the raucous Stade Velodrome crowd into total silence and take his prolific tally to 10 goals in nine games since joining from AC Milan.

First, he volleyed the ball in from near the penalty spot with his outside of his foot with a martial arts-type kick from Maxwell's corner, and then hit a free kick from 30 yards (meters) with such pace that it flew past goalie Steve Mandanda before he could get across to stop it.

On a bad night for both defenses, Gignac equalized in the 32nd when he soared above four PSG players to equalize with a powerful header from winger Mathieu Valbuena's corner that gave Sirigu no chance.

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