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Gignac scores winner as Marseille beats Evian 1-0 to keep pressure on league leader Lyon


PARIS — Andre-Pierre Gignac scored from the penalty spot early in the second half for second-place Marseille to beat Evian 1-0 and keep the pressure on French league leader Lyon on Saturday.

The penalty was awarded in the 49th minute after veteran midfielder Cedric Barbosa barged into winger Dimitri Payet. France striker Gignac drove a low shot under the body of goalkeeper Benjamin Leroy for his 14th league goal.

Marseille, which had lost two of its past three league games, needed to win after title rival Paris Saint-Germain's 1-0 win at home to Rennes on Friday.

This hard-fought win keeps Marseille level on points with PSG — both sides have the same goal difference, too — and one point behind Lyon, which faces a tough match at Monaco on Sunday.

Marseille coach Marcelo Bielsa was disappointed with his team's lack of creativity.

"The goal difference today should have been more in our favor," Bielsa said. "In the last 30 minutes, the teams were pretty even and we didn't get many chances."

While Marseille's away form has been awful — with no win on the road for the past eight games — the home form remains impressive.

"The Stade Velodrome crowd helps Marseille pick up points," Evian coach Pascal Dupraz said. "All of our efforts today were undone by that penalty."

Marseille wasted an early chance to go ahead when defender Brice Djadjedje missed the target with a free header in the 10th minute after Gignac picked him out with a cross to the far post.

Gignac's goal settled a tense match where Payet was Marseille's most impressive performer, and he went close shortly before the break with a rising drive from the right that just cleared the crossbar.

A minute into the second half, Evian's free kick specialist Daniel Waas tested goalkeeper Steve Mandanda with a 35-meter effort that Mandanda comfortably gathered.

Midfielder Alaixys Romao missed the chance to make it 2-0 with 15 minutes remaining, blazing over from close range after Payet's free kick caused confusion in Evian's defense.

Also Saturday, it's: Lens vs. Bastia; Lorient vs. Montpellier; Metz vs Nice; Nantes vs. Lille; and Toulouse vs. Reims.

In Sunday's other games, Saint-Etienne goes to Normandy to play Caen and Bordeaux faces Guingamp.

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