Bakambu makes dream debut with Marseille in French league
PARIS (AP) — New recruit Cedric Bakambu scored on his debut just two minutes after coming on as Marseille won 2-0 at Lens to move to second in the French league on Saturday.
With Arkadiusz Milik struggling for form, Marseille signed Bakambu during the winter transfer window to add firepower to Jorge Sampaoli’s side. The move brought immediate dividends.
Bakambu, who scored 48 goals in 71 appearances for Chinese Super League club Beijing Guoan before his return to the French league, made it 2-0 in the 76th minute. Dimitri Payet had put the visitors in front with a first-half penalty.
Bakambu, a former Sochaux player, replaced Luis Henrique in the 74th minute. After playing a one-two with Matteo Guendouzi, he was perfectly set up on the left side of the area and found the net with a left-footed shot from a tight angle.
Guendouzi was also involved in the opening goal. The midfielder was pushed in the back by Facundo Medina after Cengiz Ünder rushed down the left flank and crossed the ball into the box. Referee Stephanie Frappart pointed to the penalty spot and Payet — who was at the start at the move with a superb pass for Ünder — calmly sent goalkeeper Wuilker Farinez the wrong way.
It was Marseille’s fifth consecutive away win.
Marseille moved one point ahead of Nice, which plays at Metz on Sunday. PSG has a 10-point lead at the top of the standings ahead of its home game against Reims.
BREST UPSETS LILLE
Brest upset Lille 2-0 to return to winning ways and put an end to the defending champion’s nine-match unbeaten run.
The hosts took the lead on their first attack after only three minutes thanks to an own-goal by Tiago Djalo, then withstood Lille’s pressure throughout the match. Striker Steve Mounié guaranteed Brest’s first win this year by adding a second goal from the penalty spot in stoppage time.
Lille remained in eighth place, 18 points behind PSG. Brest moved up to 12th, trailing Lille by four points.
Djalo accidentally beat his own goalkeeper as he tried to clear a precise cross from Ronaël Pierre-Gabriel. But the Portuguese defender lost his balance and fired the ball into the top corner instead.
American striker Timothy Weah, who has recovered from a quadriceps injury, made his first start since Dec. 1. He created a good chance for Lille just before halftime with a cutback cross for Jonathan David. The Canada striker took his chance with an instant strike and forced goalkeeper Marco Bizot to make a great diving save.
Lille dominated and pressed hard until the end.
Lille coach Jocelyn Gourvennec sent on new recruit Hatem Ben Arfa with 15 minutes left as a replacement for Burak Yilmaz. Exactly 265 days after his previous French league appearance, the former France international came close to snatching an equalizer but his effort from inside the box in the 88th minute was denied by Bizot.
A clumsy tackle from Zeki Celik on Franck Honorat then earned the hosts a late penalty that Mounié converted.
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