Marseille pays tribute to Pelé before 6-1 win, Lens held 0-0
PARIS (AP) — Marseille paid tribute to Brazilian soccer great Pelé before routing Toulouse 6-1 to rise to third place Thursday, while Lens failed to keep pace with league leader Paris Saint-Germain after drawing 0-0 at Nice.
The draw left second-place Lens seven points behind PSG, which won on Wednesday to remain unbeaten.
Midfielder Salis Abdul Samed went close for Lens, which hosts PSG on Sunday, after a brilliant turn and mazy run, only to be foiled by veteran goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel in the 31st minute.
Marseille’s home win moved it four points behind Lens but two ahead of Rennes in third, which earns a place in the Champions League qualifying rounds. Rennes lost 3-1 at Reims.
Marseille fans observed a moment’s applause for Pelé, who died on Thursday. He was 82. The three-time World Cup winner’s face was shown on a giant screen at Stade Velodrome.
Marseille midfielder Dimitri Payet had tears in his eyes as he joined in the applause, before Marseille’s crowd chanted “Pelé, Pelé, Pelé,” several times.
It was Marseille’s best attacking performance under coach Igor Tudor. He seems to have figured out how best to use the former France playmaker Payet, whose vision and passing illuminated the game.
Central defender Samuel Gigot broke down the right to set up midfielder Valentin Rongier from close range in the 13th minute, and Marseille doubled its lead in the 41st when Toulouse defender Rasmus Nicolaisen lobbed his own goalkeeper with a botched header.
Left back Sead Kolasinac made it 3-0 in the 52nd when he controlled the ball with an improvised backheel and then turned past a defender to shoot home.
Ten minutes later, Payet superbly curled in the fourth goal from just inside the area before Dutch midfielder Branco van den Boomen reduced the deficit soon after with a penalty.
Turkey winger Cengiz Ünder scored from the spot in the 80th for Marseille’s fifth before left back Nuno Tavarez grabbed a fine sixth moments later, chesting down a cross from right back Jonathan Clauss and firing the ball in under the crossbar.
Earlier, England under-21 striker Folarin Balogun put Reims ahead and fellow forward Alexis Flips made it 2-0 after 22 minutes.
Defender Arthur Theate pulled a goal back for Rennes just before the break, but Balogun continued his fine form with his 10th goal of the season in the 84th.
Also, Montpellier won 2-0 at Lorient to move closer to mid-table.
Midfielder Téji Savanier’s early free kick put the visitors ahead and striker Elye Wahi made it 2-0 midway through the first half.
PSG scraped a 2-1 home win against struggling Strasbourg on Wednesday, thanks to Kylian Mbappé’s penalty deep into stoppage time.
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