The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
Striker Brandao scores as Saint-Etienne wins 2-0 at Bastia to move provisionally into 3rd
PARIS - Brazilian striker Brandao's second goal in as many games helped Saint-Etienne win 2-0 at Bastia and move provisionally into third place ahead of Lille in the French league on Saturday.
Lille needs only to draw against sixth-place Lyon on Sunday to reclaim third spot.
After scoring a last-minute equalizer against Marseille last weekend, Brandao turned in Yohan Mollo's corner from the left in the 33rd minute, and an injury-time own goal from defender Fethi Harek sealed the win.
Fifth-place Marseille beat Lorient 1-0 to keep the pressure on in the hunt for a Champions League place. Striker Andre-Pierre Gignac boosted his chances of a France recall with the late winner.
Gignac has 12 goals in his last 12 matches in all competitions, and his latest effort was particularly timely given that France coach Didier Deschamps names his squad next week for a friendly against the Netherlands. He has played for France only once since the 2010 World Cup.
Once again, it was winger Dimitri Payet providing the assist for Gignac, who ran onto Payet's cross from the left and finished confidently after missing an earlier chance.
Marseille was unbeaten in five games ahead of next weekend's trip to face league leader and bitter rival Paris Saint-Germain.
"We've been pretty solid for quite a while now and we know that we're going to create chances — in fact the one we scored was probably the most difficult," Marseille coach Jose Anigo said. "We're playing as a unit again and the team spirit is there. A while ago we struggled to defend all together, but today as soon as we lost the ball everyone was chasing back."
Gignac had a goal ruled out for offside in the first half and missed a good chance midway through the second when he ran onto Benoit Cheyrou's long pass, cut inside a defender, and his curling shot was saved by goalkeeper Fabien Audard.
Vincent Aboubakar proved a handful throughout for Marseille's defenders, and the Cameroon striker went close with two efforts from outside the penalty area.
"We knew it would be tough because they're a good team and their coach gets them playing good football," Anigo said. "Our defence is coping well but this was against Lorient — next week will be a lot different because it will be Zlatan (Ibrahimovic), so we will have our work cut out. It's very difficult to win in Paris but Montpellier did it (in the French Cup) so it is possible."
Elsewhere, forward Henri Saivet's late goal moved Bordeaux into eighth place after a 2-1 home win against struggling Evian, while wingers Remy Cabella and Anthony Mounier scored Montpellier's goals in a 2-0 win against last-place Ajaccio.
Striker Mustapha Yatabare's goal three minutes into injury time gave Guingamp a 1-0 win against Nice.
In a relegation battle pitting 18th vs. 19th, two goals from Ghana forward Majeed Waris looked to have sealed a win for Valenciennes. But defender Florian Marange rescued a point for Sochaux in the 88th, with the visitors' other goal coming from right back Sebastien Corchia.
PSG can restore its five-point advantage over Monaco if it wins at Toulouse on Sunday.
In Sunday's other match, Nantes faces Rennes.
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