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.

WEEKEND RESULTS
===============
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 jcone@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.