Niang strike lifts OM out of the drop zone
PARIS, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Two goals by Mamadou Niang and a superb display by goalkeeper Steve Mandanda hauled Olympique Marseille out of the relegation zone with a 2-1 victory at Ligue 1 leaders Olympique Lyon on Sunday. Marseille now are 17th in the standings with 14 points from 14 games, while six-times champions Lyon, who had not lost in their previous 10 league matches, are top on 31 points. Lyon lead Nancy by three points but the Lorraine side, who were held to a goalless draw at Paris St Germain on Saturday, have a game in hand. Lyon, with France striker Karim Benzema on the bench, made a dream start on seven minutes. A Nadir Belhadj effort was superbly parried by Mandanda, only for Juninho to follow up and head the ball into an empty net. The Provence side hit back three minutes later when Niang converted a penalty after being held in the box by Sebastien Squillaci. Marseille struggled in midfield but were quick to break and took the lead two minutes from halftime. Niang, perfectly set up by playmaker Samir Nasri, outpaced two Lyon defenders before slotting the ball past keeper Remy Vercoutre. Lyon hit back in the second half but winger Sidney Govou was twice denied by Mandanda on brilliant form. Lyon coach Alain Perrin bolstered his attack by replacing Kim Kallstrom and Fred respectively by Abdulkader Keita and Benzema shortly after the hour. France striker Benzema had three clearcut chances but was denied each time by Mandanda. 'It was a spectacular game with a lot of chances on both sides. We could have conceded another goal but we could also have scored another,' Marseille coach Eric Gerets told French TV channel Canal Plus. 'Both teams were great but I think we deserved our victory.' Lyon captain Juninho said: 'It was one of the best games of the season, with loads of scoring chances. But their goalkeeper was brilliant. He is a great keeper.' Earlier on Sunday, David Bellion scored two goals and set up the other as Girondins Bordeaux beat Stade Rennes 3-0 at home to move up to third. Former Manchester United striker Bellion scored his ninth and 10th league goals of the season either side of the interval with Gabriel Obertan adding a third with eight minutes remaining. Laurent Blanc's side have 25 points from 14 games, with Stade Rennes a point further back in fourth place. Elsewhere, a Fabrice Abriel second-half goal earned Lorient a 1-0 home win over Toulouse.