Saturday night saw some big and important in Ligue 1. Marseille's Andre-Pierre Gignac waited till very late in the second half before scoring his 12th goal in 13 games, securing OM's 1-0 win over Lorient. The win moved Marseille within two points of Lille and Saint-Etienne in third, keeping pace in the race for the last Champions' League place.
Staying down in the south of France, Montpellier picked up their fourth win in six games, moving them up to 11th place. They had been hovering around the relegation zone, but the recent form under new boss Rolland Courbis has seen them lifted to safety, mostly to thank for the on field performances of Newcastle United target Remy Cabella.
Heavily linked with a move to the North-East in January, there were also rumours that the 23-year-old had agreed to move to Newcastle in the summer, although that was never confirmed. The tricky playmaker has been in superb form and picked up his tenth goal of the season on Saturday as Montpellier brushed aside lowly Ajaccio at the Stade de la Mosson.
Add in Cabella's five assists this season and he has clearly been MHSC's best player this season, and there is no doubt that Newcastle won't be the only club after him this summer.
Guingamp stopped the rot at the Stade Roudourou with a 1-0 win over stuttering Nice. The home side are now seven points above the drop-zone, and two points behind Nice.
There was a huge relegation six pointer in Valenciennes as Sochaux came to town. In an exciting 2nd half, both sides scored some excellent goals, but neither could find a winner, ending the match 2-2. Sebastian Corchia's wonderful free-kick marking his return to Les Lionceaux after his disastrous move to Lille was blocked by the financial regulators.
Bordeaux picked up their first win in three, beating Evian 2-1 in an action less 90 minutes. Saint-Etienne also picked up their first win in three, beating Bastia 2-0 away from home. Brazilian striker Brandao opened the scoring in the first-half and it was left to Bastia's defender Fathi Harek to score a calamitous own goal. Slotting the ball past his own goalkeeper from 20 yards. Tidy finish, in his own net.
The wins for Marseille and Saint-Etienne put the pressure on Lille and Lyon who faced off on Sunday night. The race for third place is becoming the most exciting part of the 2013/14 season. It will go right down to the wire.
image: © wonker