ONE TO CHER­ISH

Evra nets first Mar­seille goal to sink Nice

New Straits Times - - Sport - PARIS AFP

Evra? I’m happy for him, but aside from his de­ci­sive goal the team per­formed well.

RUDI GAR­CIA Mar­seille coach

PATRICE Evra scored his first goal for Mar­seille in Sun­day’s 2-1 vic­tory over Nice to ex­tin­guish the vis­i­tors’ hopes of claim­ing an au­to­matic Cham­pi­ons League qual­i­fy­ing spot.

Ri­cardo Pereira and Dal­bert both hit the post for Nice in­side the open­ing 15 min­utes, but Mar­seille grabbed the lead when Bafe­timbi Gomis headed in his team­lead­ing 18th goal of the sea­son.

Mario Balotelli equalised shortly af­ter half-time, bundling in from close range to set a new ca­reer best with his 15th league goal of the cam­paign.

France in­ter­na­tional Evra popped up with the win­ner on 66 min­utes with a div­ing header from a Maxime Lopez cross to nudge Mar­seille ahead of six­th­placed Bordeaux and into the fi­nal Europa League berth.

“Evra? I’m happy for him, but aside from his de­ci­sive goal the team per­formed well,” said Mar­seille coach Rudi Gar­cia.

Nice suf­fered just a third de­feat of the sea­son and were of­fi­cially elim­i­nated from the ti­tle race. They will fin­ish third with Paris Saint-Ger­main six points clear in sec­ond place and own­ing a far su­pe­rior goal dif­fer­ence.

Lyon face a mon­u­men­tal chal­lenge to turn around a 4-1 deficit in Thurs­day’s Europa League semi­fi­nal sec­ond leg against Ajax, but Bruno Ge­n­e­sio’s side are at least des­tined to re­turn to the com­pe­ti­tion next term af­ter a 32 home win over Nantes.

Valentin Rongier gave Nantes a first-half lead at Parc OL, but Na­bil Fekir equalised from the penalty be­fore Maxwel Cor­net’s brace ei­ther side of a Guil­laume Gil­let ef­fort left Lyon five points clear of Mar­seille in fourth.

Monaco took an­other big stride to­wards se­cur­ing their first Ligue 1 crown since 2000 with a 3-0 vic­tory at Nancy on Satur­day.

Leonardo Jardim’s men lead PSG by three points with a game in hand and need just one win from their fi­nal three matches to all but sew up a re­mark­able league tri­umph.

PSG though re­tained an out­side chance of deny­ing Monaco with a 5-0 rout of bot­tom side Bas­tia as Edin­son Ca­vani scored twice — but also missed a penalty — to climb up to 33 goals for the cam­paign.

AFP PIC

Mar­seille de­fender Patrice Evra (right) fires past Nice's Ar­naud Sou­quet dur­ing their Ligue 1 match on Sun­day. Mar­seille won 2-1.

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