Michy Batshuyai ensures Marseille finish year top of the table
Belgian striker Michy Batshuyai repaid Marseille coach Marcelo Bielsa`s faith in giving him his first start by scoring the decider in the 2-1 win over Lille on Sunday to guarantee they top the table going into the New Year.
Paris: Belgian striker Michy Batshuyai repaid Marseille coach Marcelo Bielsa`s faith in giving him his first start by scoring the decider in the 2-1 win over Lille on Sunday to guarantee they top the table going into the New Year.
Marseille, who last won the title in 2010 when coached by Didier Deschamps, lead defending champions Paris Saint Germain -- who drew 0-0 with Montpellier on Saturday -- and five ahead of Lyon, who play Bordeaux later on Sunday.
Batshuyai -- who had had to bide his time to get a start since signing from Standard Liege in the close season -- had got the nod when Bielsa according to media reports told regular starter Dimitri Payet he could go on holiday as he would not be playing after failing to impress in training this week.
The Belgian Under-21 international did not let the mercurial Argentinean coach down even though it was in front of a record Velodrome attendance of 62,048 spectators.
Andre-Pierre Gignac had a superb chance in the 12th minute as a weak defensive header fell to him inside the penalty area but he sent his shot well wide of the post.
Batshuyai went close to breaking the deadlock in the 27th minute as he created space for himself and unleashed a fine curling effort that went just wide of the post.
The hosts went 1-0 up in the 32nd minute in the most unfortunate circumstances for Lille as Nolan Roux tried to put out a poor corner by Florian Thauvin but it flashed off his boot and beat Enyeama at the near post.
Marseille had other chances including one for Andre Ayew, but the Ghanaian star`s shot was cleared off the line by Simon Kjaer.
Lille were fortunate not be reduced to 10 men 10 minutes into the second-half as Idrissa Gueye flashed out his arm and caught Mario Lemina full in the face but despite a harsh talking to by the referee he didn`t receive even a booking.
He made the most of his good fortune by levelling in the 61st minute, his shot from the edge of the area taking a deflection before rolling past Steve Mandanda.
However, the hosts sent the massed ranks of Marseille fans -- many in Santa Claus hats -- into ecstasy in the 69th minute as Batshuyai turned his marker and let fly with a super right-footed effort that gave Enyeama no chance.
Marseille were registering their ninth successive home win.