PSG scrapes past Angers 1-0 to go top as Marseille loses

·2 min read

PARIS — Defender Layvin Kurzawa's goal was just enough as defending champion Paris Saint-Germain earned a scrappy 1-0 win at Angers to go top of the French league on Saturday.

But title challenger Lyon can restore its one-point lead by beating mid-table Metz at home on Sunday.

PSG was without coach Mauricio Pochettino after he tested positive for the coronavirus, and his two assistants took charge.

However, it was an uninspiring performance PSG fans watching at home will quickly forget.

Kurzawa volleyed in neatly from just inside the penalty area with 20 minutes left, but his goal had a touch of fortune as a cross from the right hit an Angers defender and looped up invitingly.

Angers contained PSG comfortably in midfield but lacked a cutting edge going forward.

“We weren't far off,” Angers defender Romain Thomas said. “We prepared for the game very well and it's a pity we couldn't open the scoring.”

Earlier, winger Florian Thauvin fluffed a penalty and Marseille paid the price as it was stunned at home by struggling Nimes 2-1.

Thauvin sent goalkeeper Baptiste Reynet the wrong way from the spot but his shot went over the crossbar in the 35th minute. Moments later, Reynet saved striker Dario Benedetto’s tame shot from close range with his foot.

Sixth-placed Marseille was punished for those misses when Swedish midfielder Niclas Eliasson struck twice in quick succession early in the second half for Nimes to move off the bottom and into 18th place.

Benedetto pulled a goal back with five minutes left.

Right back Pol Lirola started his first game for Marseille since joining on loan from Italian side Fiorentina but the home side's defence looked shaky without injured goalie Steve Mandanda.

“First of all we need to apologize to the fans,” Marseille coach Andre Villas-Boas said. “We didn’t play well and didn’t show a good team spirit. I’m not happy about the lack of commitment.”

Marseille central defender Alvaro Gonzalez used an expletive to describe his team's sloppy performance.

“We have to respect the jersey, we lacked strength and combativeness. We did nothing,” Gonzalez said. “When we lose, people talk about the coach or something else, but it's not true. It's down to us. When you are rubbish, you lose."

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Jerome Pugmire, The Associated Press