Fanni's injury-time goal seals Marseille's win
PARIS (AP) -Rod Fanni scored deep into injury time as Marseille returned to winning ways with a scrappy 1-0 victory against Valenciennes in the French league on Saturday.
The right back timed his run perfectly into the penalty area to turn in left back Jeremy Morel's superb cross in the fourth minute of injury time, and with only a handful of seconds remaining, to prompt scenes of wild jubilation on the bench.
"We won this match with our hearts tonight,'' Fanni said. "I read the trajectory of Jeremy's cross, anticipated it, and this allowed me to get there ahead of the defender.''
Marseille had picked up just two points from its previous three matches to slip behind leader Paris Saint-Germain in the title race. The win moves Marseille provisionally one point ahead of Lyon and into second place, five points behind PSG.
Lyon is at Bordeaux and PSG travels to Sochaux on Sunday.
Marseille travels to play PSG next weekend.
"It was very important for us to win tonight, crucial in terms of points because we keep a bit of distance from the teams chasing us and move closer to the top two,'' Fanni said. "It's good for our confidence before going to Paris, because we're going through a difficult period. We're capable of doing some very good things, and we have every chance of showing that next Sunday.''
Marseille had almost all of the first-half possession, but failed to create many chances. The best of them fell to striker Andre-Pierre Gignac, who looked short of confidence.
Gignac ran through down the right in the 20th minute, but had a difficult angle and his lob sailed over goalkeeper Nicolas Penneteau and wide. Shortly after, he just failed to get onto Mathieu Valbuena's cross from the right. His best chance came in the 31st when forward Andre Ayew nodded down Valbuena's deep cross from the right and Gignac took the ball back to goal, spun and failed to get enough power on his shot with the goal gaping.
A dull second half was briefly lit up when Fanni cut inside the penalty area and his shot deflected just wide for a corner.
"Valenciennes was well organised, it was hard to find space,'' Marseille midfielder Foued Kadir said.
Valbuena twice threatened from the left but his dangerous crosses were not converted. It was set to be another frustrating match for the home fans until Morel swapped passes with Ayew and his pinpoint cross deflected off defender Gaetan Bong's head and landed invitingly for Fanni to push home with the outside of his boot.
"Even though we defended well, you have a feeling of regret when you lose in the 94th minute,'' Valenciennes coach Daniel Sanchez said.
Also on Saturday were: Bastia vs. Nice; Brest vs. Ajaccio; Lorient vs. Evian; Montpellier vs. Nancy, and Toulouse vs. Troyes. Saint-Etienne travels to Reims in Sunday's other match.
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