Sanson gives Marseille 1-0 derby win at Nice

Morgan Sanson scored the only goal of the game in Marseille’s victory over Nice. (AFP pic)

PARIS: Olympique Marseille stayed in the Ligue 1 top four after a fine goal by midfielder Morgan Sanson gave them a 1-0 victory at Nice on Sunday.

The result kept Marseille fourth on 19 points from 10 games, 11 points behind runaway leaders and champions Paris Saint-Germain.

Nice dropped to 14th on 11 points, only two above the relegation zone, after their striker Mario Balotelli missed a string of chances in the first half.

The Italian was twice foiled by visiting goalkeeper Steve Mandanda and a last-gasp tackle by a Marseille defender also denied him a clear-cut finish before Sanson struck against the run of play at the other end.

A slick move down the right flank allowed Sanson time and space to pick his spot and unleash a stinging low shot into the bottom left corner of the net from 13 metres in the 42nd minute, capping Marseille’s first purposeful move.

Nice pressed hard for an equaliser in the second half but Marseille’s resolute defending confined the home side to just a few half-chances as their patchy form continued.

Elsewhere, high-flying Montpellier maintained their good start with a 2-0 home win over Bordeaux which kept them third while sixth-placed Saint-Étienne were held to a 1-1 home draw by 11th-placed Rennes.

Gaëtan Laborde headed Montpellier into a 17th-minute lead and an Andy Delort penalty sealed the contest. A Wahbi Khazri penalty fired Saint-Étienne ahead before Ismaïla Sarr equalised and Hatem Ben Arfa missed a penalty for the visitors.