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Magical Nimes stun Marseille

August 21, 2018

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PARIS: Newly-promoted Nimes humiliated their distinguished southern neighbours Olympique Marseille 3-1 on Sunday to maintain their fairytale start to life back in Ligue 1.

Goals from Denis Bouanga, Sada Thioub and Renaud Ripart earned last season’s Division Two runners-up a famous scalp in their first home game in the French topflight since the 1992/93 season.

And it came a week after they opened with a 4-3 win at Angers which has lifted the side with the lowest Ligue 1 budget into the unlikely position of second in the fledgling table, level on points with the wealthiest team in the league, Paris St Germain.

As if this embarrassing loss wasn’t punishment enough for Marseille coach Rudi Garcia he suffered another blow when his World Cup winning keeper Steve Mandanda had to come off with an apparent injured thigh.

Nimes struck in the 34th minute when striker Bouanga showed pace and skill to cut in from the left, skipping past Japan defender Hiroki Sakai and drilling a low shot past goalkeeper Mandanda.

Nimes were in front until four minutes after the restart when Florian Thauvin stylishly completed a move against the run of play that begun when Valere Germain intercepted a Nimes freekick.

Parity lasted until after the hour when Bouanga was at the heart of a counter finished off by Thioub who rounded Mandanda to tap in to an empty net.

Striker Ripart, who had never played in Ligue 1 before this season, then showed great strength to shrug off two defenders and slide the ball home in the 87th.

Earlier, Girondins Bordeaux were beaten 2-1 by Toulouse with the loss failing to lift spirits at the club after the suspension of coach Gustavo Poyet.

The Uruguayan’s future is in serious doubt after he was served with a one week ban for an angry tirade at club bosses over the sale of striker Gaetan Laborde to Ligue 1 rivals Montpellier.

Eric Bedouet, one of Poyet’s assistants, took charge for Sunday’s derby but hopes of a pick-me-up on the pitch were dashed by Leya Iseka and Mathieu Dossevi, who scored for Toulouse in either half.

Also, Senegalese striker Makhtar Gueye’s debut goal earned 10-man St Etienne a 1-1 draw at Strasbourg.

Gueye netted in the 88th, four minutes after coming on, with St Etienne — who had centre-half Neven Subotic sent off after 18 minutes, trailing to a 55th-minute curler from midfielder Anthony Goncalves.

Published in Dawn, August 21st, 2018