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Marseille and Saint-Etienne start with wins in Ligue 1

ligue-1-logoHelped by a paid of goals from former Lille man Dimitri Payet, nine-times champions Marseille won their opening match of the French league season on Sunday, scoring a 3-1 away success at Guingamp.

Earlier, Brandao scored the only goal of the game as his Saint-Etienne side emerged victorious against Fabrizio Ravanelli’s Ajaccio in the Italian’s first match in charge.

Pierre-Andre Gignac netted the opener after just two minutes for Marseille with a rebound after an Andre Ayew effort was saved. Payet doubled the advantage just two minutes later after good work from Ayew down the left before making it 3-0 after just a quarter of an hour.

Malian international striker Mustapha Yatabare pulled one back in the second half after Marseille keeper Steve Mandanda had first saved a penalty from the same player seven minutes after the restart, but Marseille were good value for the three points.

Brazilian forward Brandao’s first half strike in the searing Corsican sunshine was enough to secure all three points for Les Verts as the hosts struggled to offer a response and finished the game with 10 men.

Saint-Etienne made the breakthrough thanks to good work from Romain Hamouma as the 26-year-old winger showed great control before squaring for Brandao to tap home.

Ajaccio almost found an instant reply but Ronald Zubar just failed to connect with Johan Cavalli’s free-kick and Les Verts’ lead remained intact at the break.

Brandao was gifted with a great opportunity to double the lead on the hour mark but Ajaccio goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa came out on top after the Brazilian was played in by Renaud Cohade.

Having already been booked in the first half, Benjamin Andre showed naivety with a silly challenge from behind on Benjamin Corgnet and the hosts were forced to see out the few remaining minutes a man down.