Payet scores 2 as Marseille beats Lyon to move into 2nd spot

PARIS (AP) — Dimitri Payet scored twice as Marseille held on with 10 men to beat Lyon 2-1 and move up to second place in the French league on Sunday.

The attacking midfielder netted his goals in the first half as Marseille ended a run of five straight league defeats against Lyon, and no wins in the last 10 league games between them.

Lyon hit back through striker Moussa Dembele in the 60th minute, and Marseille played with a man less from the 64th when defender Alvaro Gonzalez was sent off for impeding Dembele as he ran through on goal.

Marseille’s win moved it eight points behind league leader Paris Saint-Germain, while Lyon is in 14th place.

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Home fans at a fervent Stade Velodrome saw something rare in the 39th minute: Payet slid in on Bertrand Traore and won a tough tackle in midfield.

Payet bounced onto his feet and sprayed a pass right to midfielder Maxime Lopez, sprinted forward to collect the return ball on the edge of the area and — after expertly controlling it at speed — swiveled adroitly to hit a shot into the bottom left corner for his second goal.

It was not the technique that was surprising or the accuracy of Payet’s shooting — he has scored many spectacular goals from free kicks and long-distance shots — but more the gritty commitment from a player often known more for silky ability than work rate.

Payet turned to the crowd and flexed his biceps like a muscle man, reinforcing his new-found combative attitude.

“We played with our hearts,” Payet told match broadcaster Canal Plus.

Earlier, he had coolly clipped a penalty to the left of Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes in the 18th minute following a handball. The penalty decision led to some friction, with Lyon right back Leo Dubois and Marseille striker Dario Benedetto confronting each other.

Lyon was missing injured top scorer Memphis Depay, but Dembele continued his scoring form by heading in Traore’s cross from the right. It was his ninth league goal this season, moving him level as top scorer with Monaco’s Wissam Ben Yedder.

RESURGENT SAINT-ETIENNE

Saint-Etienne twice came from behind to win 3-2 at Nantes and move into fourth place under new coach Claude Puel.

Saint-Etienne has not lost since former Leicester coach Puel took charge five weeks ago with the club in the relegation zone, and won a hard-fought encounter with two goals from striker Denis Bouanga.

The match featured two storied French sides sharing 18 league titles — a national record 10 for Saint-Etienne — but none since Nantes was crowned champion in 2001.

After Ludovic Blas gave the home side the lead in the 15th minute, Peruvian defender Miguel Trauco leveled seven minutes later. An action-packed first half saw Imran Louza restore the lead for Nantes in the 26th after being assisted by fellow midfielder Blas, only for Trauco to set up Bouanga for a header in the 34th.

Bounga also scored the winner last weekend against Monaco, and this time latched onto playmaker Ryad Boudebouz’s clever pass behind the defense in the 67th.

OTHER MATCHES

Striker Gaetan Laborde grabbed his first goal of the season as Montpellier beat struggling Toulouse 3-0 to climb into sixth place, with the home side’s other goals coming from midfielders Damien Le Tallec and Teji Savanier.

Rennes moved up to 10th place with a 3-1 home win against Amiens, which took the lead in the 35th minute through striker Serhou Guirassy.

Midfielder Adrien Hunou equalized four minutes later and striker Mbaye Niang put the Brittany-based side ahead in the 62nd before Brazilian forward Raphinha added a late penalty.

Defending champion PSG won 2-1 away to Brest on Saturday.

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