Marseille Wins to Stay Tied for Lead in French Soccer; Ajax Ties

Marseille beat Saint Etienne 1-0 yesterday to move level on points atop France’s Ligue 1 as many of Europe’s top soccer leagues entered mid-season breaks. Ajax slipped three points behind the leaders in the Netherlands.

Paris Saint-Germain, Lyon and Marseille all have 38 points following wins this weekend. Andre Ayew scored for Marseille as it recorded a 12th victory in 19 matches.

PSG, top on goal difference, won 3-0 at Brest on Dec. 21, while Lyon beat Nice 3-0 two days ago. Fourth-place Rennes is six points back after a 4-2 victory at Ajaccio.

Defending champion Montpellier lost 4-2 against Lille and sits in 11th position.

Ajax was held to a 0-0 tie at Utrecht yesterday and is now tied on 37 points with Feyenoord, a 2-1 winner against Groningen, three points behind Eredivisie leaders PSV Eindhoven and FC Twente.

PSV thrashed NAC Breda 6-1 two days ago, and Twente won 3-0 at AZ Alkmaar on Dec. 21.

In La Liga, Barcelona takes a nine-point lead into the winter break, with archrival Real Madrid 16 points adrift in third spot.

Lionel Messi got his competition-leading 26th goal in Barcelona’s 3-1 win at Valladolid two days ago, with second- place Atletico Madrid a 1-0 winner against Celta Vigo on Dec. 21.

Real Madrid slumped to a 3-2 defeat at Malaga. Coach Jose Mourinho dropped Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas for the match against a team that is now two points back in fourth position.

Lazio moved second in Italy’s Serie A following a 1-0 win at Sampdoria two days ago, as Inter Milan was held to a 1-1 tie by Genoa.

Juventus, a 3-1 winner at Cagliari on Dec. 21 with two injury-time goals, tops the standings on 44 points, Lazio has 36, with Inter Milan and Fiorentina on 35. Fiorentina defeated Palermo 3-0.

Among other matches, Roma beat AC Milan 4-2 and Napoli defeated last-place Siena 2-0.

The Bundesliga was already on its mid-season break, with no matches scheduled until the weekend of Jan 19-20, when Dutch league games also resume. Serie A and La Liga return two weeks earlier, with Ligue 1 games scheduled to restart from Jan. 11.

Spain: Rayo Vallecano 3-0 Levante, Espanyol 2-0 Dep. La Coruna,
Real Sociedad 2-1 Sevilla, Valencia 4-2 Getafe, Atletico Madrid
1-0 Celta Vigo, Real Betis 1-2 Real Mallorca, Real Valladolid 1-
3 Barcelona, Malaga 3-2 Real Madrid, Osasuna 1-2 Granada,
Athletic Bilbao 0-2 Real Zaragoza.

Italy: Pescara 2-1 Catania, Cagliari 1-3 Juventus, Inter Milan
1-1 Genoa, Atalanta 1-1 Udinese, Bologna 1-2 Parma, Palermo 0-3
Fiorentina, Sampdoria 0-1 Lazio, Siena 0-2 Napoli, Torino 2-0
Chievo, Roma 4-2 AC Milan.

France: Brest 0-3 Paris St. Germain, Lille 4-1 Montpellier, AC
Ajaccio 2-4 Rennes, Bastia 4-2 Nancy, Bordeaux 0-0 Troyes,
Lorient 2-2 Reims, Lyon 3-0 Nice, Valenciennes 2-1 Evian,
Toulouse 2-0 Sochaux, Marseille 1-0 St Etienne.

Netherlands: AZ Alkmaar 0-3 FC Twente, Heerenveen 2-1 Vitesse
Arnhem, Den Haag 2-0 NEC Nijmegen, Heracles 1-1 FC Zwolle, NAC
Breda 1-6 PSV Eindhoven, RKC Waalwijk 0-0 Willem II, FC Utrecht
0-0 Ajax, Feyenoord 2-1 Groningen, VVV 2-4 Roda JC.

To contact the reporter on this story: James Cone in London at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at

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