PARIS: Olympique de Marseille condemned bottom side Dijon to an 11th defeat in a row but coach Jorge Sampaoli said there was lots of room for improvement following Sunday’s 2-0 victory in Ligue 1.

Leonardo Balerdi powered in a header at a corner in first-half stoppage time and Alvaro Gonzalez nodded in a second from another Dimitri Payet cross on 79 minutes.

The scrappy victory moved sixth-placed Marseille one point behind Lens in fifth place and a Europa League spot next season. Stade Rennais and Montpellier dropped three points behind Marseille by drawing their matches on Sunday.

“The players are working to understand a new system, it will take time,” said Sampaoli, whose side won for the third time in four games since the Argentine took charge last month.

“The objective will get closer through the progress we make. We have to play better. We want to help the team go as high as possible but by playing, by attacking. Then we can talk about the goal in terms of the table.”

Dijon have just 15 points after two wins in 31 games and are destined for the second division, lying 14 points adrift of the relegation play-off spot.

Montpellier were held 1-1 at Angers while Rennes needed a late equaliser from striker Serhou Guirassy to draw 2-2 with Reims.

In other matches Sunday, it was: Lorient 1, Brest 0; Girondins de Bordeaux 2, Strasbourg 3; Nantes 1, Nice 2; and Nimes 0, St Etienne 2.

Twenty years after winning their eighth league title, former league standouts Nantes are 19th and deep in relegation trouble with just seven games remaining.

Published in Dawn, April 6th, 2021

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