Marseille extends lead atop Ligue 1 with Nantes defeat

Marseille, France ( - Marseille extended its lead atop the Ligue 1 table on Friday after a comfortable 2-0 win over Nantes at the Stade Velodrome.

Coming off a 3-1 win over Bordeaux last time out, the home side had the upper hand against Nantes from the outset and opened the scoring after just 24 minutes.

Dimitri Payet got the play started by swinging a well-struck cross into the area where Florian Thauvin got on the end of it, directing it past Nantes goalkeeper Remy Riou with an outstanding left-footed, outs9de-of-the-foot volley.

Marseille then doubled its advantage in the 39th minute when Thauvin swung a free kick into the penalty area and defender Rod Fanni got his head to it, directing it into the bottom left corner with an excellent glancing strike.

Nantes created few scoring chances over the course of the second 45 minutes and fell to their third defeat of the season, while Marseille extended its lead atop the table to four points over second-place Paris Saint-Germain.

Also in Ligue 1 this weekend, defending champions PSG will aim to keep their unbeaten mark in league play alive when the capital club hosts Nice at the Parc des Princes on Saturday.

PSG has played 14 games in Ligue 1 this season and has yet to taste defeat, coming off an impressive 3-2 win over Metz on Nov. 21 and a comfortable 3-1 win over Dutch side Ajax.

Javier Pastore opened the scoring against Metz after just nine minutes and a Gaetan Bussmann own goal seven minutes later made it 2-0. But a pair of penalty kicks from Modibo Maiga put the sides back on level terms prior to the hour mark.

But the match was decided in the 84th minute when a strike from Zlatan Ibrahimovic looked to be headed off the inside of the post and into the net, but Ezequiel Lavezzi made sure by hammering it home from close range at the far post.

Also on Saturday, Caen welcomes Montpellier to the Stade Michel d'Ornano hoping to snap a three-match winless run, while fellow promoted side Lens battles Metz at the Stade Felix Bollaert.

Reims hosts Bastia at the Stade Auguste Delaune II, while Rennes welcomes Monaco to the Stade de la Route de Lorient. Saturday's final fixture sees Toulouse host Lorient at the Stade Municipal de Toulouse.

On Sunday, Bordeaux will look to rebound from a 3-1 loss to Marseille with a three-point effort against Lille at the Stade Chaban-Delmas. Evian will try to jump out of the bottom three with a win over Guingamp at the Parc des Sports, while Saint Etienne will go for its sixth win of the season against Lyon at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.