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Lille beats Marseille 2-1 in French league
By TRUNG LATIEULE
Associated Press
2011-03-07 08:44 AM
Lille retained the lead in the French league by defeating Marseille 2-1 Sunday from a wonder strike by Eden Hazard and a late goal from substitute Pierre-Alain Frau.

Hazard stunned the hosts after nine minutes with a strike from 35 yards into the top corner clocked at 95 kph. Frau beat Marseille defender Gabriel Heinze to the ball to flick home a cross from Emerson in the first minute of injury time.

Marseille winger Loic Remy had leveled in the 60th with a low strike from 15 yards.

Lille is level on 49 points with Rennes but holds the top spot on goal difference. Marseille slipped to fourth place, four points behind Lille.

Argentinian forward Lisandro Lopez scored a hat trick as Lyon thrashed Arles-Avignon 5-0 to climb to third place, level on points with Marseille.

Bordeaux beat Brest 3-1 to jump to seventh.

On Saturday, it was: Montpellier 0, Rennes 1; Auxerre 1, Paris Saint-Germain 0; Caen 1, Saint-Etienne 0; Lorient 0, Nancy 0; Toulouse 0, Sochaux 1; Valenciennes 0, Monaco 0; and Nice 0, Lens 0.

Marseille's physical style of play was no match for the creativity of Lille, which could have led by a more comfortable margin at halftime with better finishing.

After Hazard's opener, Lille came close to adding a second goal in the 20th. Florent Balmont played Moussa Sow in but the Senegal forward fired over the bar from nine yards.

Two minutes later, Gervinho rounded the Marseille defense to cross the ball for Sow, whose off-balance volley missed again the target.

Gervinho's 31st-minute shot deflected off a defender for a corner when slipping the ball to an unmarked Balmont to his right seemed the better option.

Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda saved his team on the stroke of halftime, stopping a close-range half-volley from Gervinho, who took advantage of a poor first touch from Heinze.

Home supporters at Stade Velodrome were so dejected by their team's poor performance that Marseille's players were loudly booed at the break.

Marseille coach Didier Deschamps replaced Argentinian playmaker Lucho Gonzalez with Andre-Pierre Gignac in the 46th to add more firepower up front.

The move paid off as a cross from Gignac was poorly cleared by Lille fullback Mathieu Debuchy, who headed the ball into the path of Remy. The France international took a touch before striking inside the near post from 15 yards in the 60th.

Lille was denied a penalty in the 66th from a counterattack. Marseille fullback Rod Fanni clearly shoved Gervinho, who was bearing down on goal, but the referee waved play on.

Three minutes later, a bouncing shot from Lille midfielder Yohan Cabaye hit the post.

The Lille defense was exposed at a free kick by Benoit Cheyrou in the 74th but Andre Ayew headed wide from close range.

In Lyon, Lopez scored from close range in the 13th minute off a pass from Jimmy Briand to put the hosts ahead.

Miralem Pjanic doubled the lead in the 17th. The Bosnia playmaker collected a backheel flick from Lopez to beat goalkeeper Vincent Plante.

"We had to find the key to make the match easier for us," Briand said. "We managed to score two goals in 20 minutes and things became easier right away."

Lopez headed in a cross from Cesar Delgado to make it 3-0 in the 51st.

Bafetimbi Gomis beat the offside trap in the 55th and fed Lopez, who swept the ball into the net to raise his tally to 11 goals this season.

Brazilian winger Michel Bastos cut inside to fire into the bottom corner and seal the win in stoppage time.

"Those are the kinds of matches that we have to win if we want to go and get the title," Pjanic said.

In Brest, Brazilian midfielder Geraldo Wendel curled a free kick into the top corner to open the scoring for Bordeaux in the 49th.

Czech midfielder Jaroslav Plasil added a second goal in the 67th by dribbling past goalkeeper Steeve Elana to score into an empty net.

Brahim Ferradj pulled one back for Brest with a powerful strike in the 87th but Bordeaux substitute Cheikh Diabate capitalized on a poor clearance from Ferradj to put the result beyond doubt in injury time.

All matches were officiated by referees from lower leagues. The French Football Federation decided to replace referees in charge of first-division matches this weekend after the refereeing union decided to delay kickoff times by 15 minutes in protest at recent criticism.

The draw for the French Cup semifinals was also made Sunday. On April 19-20, Angers will host Paris Saint-Germain and Lille will visit Nice.

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