Marseille catch Rennes napping to tighten hold on second
Marseille strengthened their grip on second place in Ligue 1 with a 1-0 win at Rennes on Sunday.
Sead Kolasinac tapped in at the far post in the 56th minute after Marseille caught the home side napping by taking a free kick while players were still in discussion with the referee.
Jordan Veretout's sharp free kick found Cengiz Under racing alone into space on the right edge of the Rennes box. Under drove a low cross into the goalmouth where Kolasinac stepped forward to score as four Rennes defenders stood and watched.
Marseille held on to win an often frantic game and rebound from a week in which they lost to leaders Paris-Saint Germain in the league and then suffered a midweek French Cup upset against second-division Annecy.
"Playing for Marseille is always demanding," said coach Igor Tudor.
"There is a particular pressure. Players are not machines, they feel things and it was hard. It was important to respond tonight. So this win here is very valuable. When you take these blows, you have two options: react or stop and cry. So today, I am very proud of my players."
It was a 10th win in 13 away league matches for Marseille who have the best record on the road in Ligue 1.
Rennes, who were third before Christmas, stayed in fifth, but are five points behind Lens who drew on Saturday.
Marseille are eight points behind PSG but pulled four points ahead of Monaco who drew 2-2 at Troyes earlier in the day.
Monaco captain Wissam Ben Yedder scored two late goals but the home team snatched a stoppage-time equaliser.
Rominigue Kouame fired in from the edge of the area on the half-hour for Troyes, but Ben Yedder's quick-fire double in the final 10 minutes seemed to have won the game for Monaco.
Substitute Ike Ugbo snapped Troyes' five-match losing streak though with a header in the first minute of added time.
Monaco, who were knocked out of the Europa League by Bayer Leverkusen last month, missed the chance to go second but did reclaim third place from Lens on goals scored.
Troyes remain in the relegation zone and have picked up just two points from their past nine matches.
On Saturday, Kylian Mbappe became PSG's all-time top scorer with his 201st goal in a 4-2 win over Nantes.
Reims made it 18 league games without defeat as Jens Cajuste scored a last-gasp winner in a 1-0 victory over Ajaccio.
They moved up to eighth -- above Lorient and Lyon who played out a goalless draw, while Clermont won 1-0 at Toulouse.
Montpellier thrashed bottom club Angers 5-0 and Brest climbed out of the relegation places after beating Strasbourg 1-0.