By Samuel Petrequin ,AP
PARIS — Andre-Pierre Gignac scored in the last minute of stoppage time at Caen to help Marseille secure a seventh consecutive win in the French league on Saturday and open a five-point gap at the top of the standings.
Gignac, who has nine goals ins as many league games this season, kept his composure and slotted home the winner after being set up by Benjamin Mendy for Marseille to win 2-1.
Gignac’s form earned him a recall to France’s squad for upcoming matches against Portugal and Armenia.
“You did not see a great performance from us but perhaps luck smiled at the leader,” said Gignac, who has 25 goals in his last 44 matches.
In slight drizzle, Marseille struggled to break down Caen’s resistance before Alaixys Romao opened the scoring 15 minutes from time. Caen defender Yrondu Musavu-King put the teams level in the 84th from a free kick with a superb header that wrong-footed keeper Steve Mandanda.
Bordeaux lay second, but can be overtaken by Lille with a win at Lyon on Sunday. Fourth-place Paris Saint-Germain will attempt to carry its Champions League form into the domestic league when it hosts Monaco on the back of a 3-2 win over Barcelona midweek.
Marseille coach Marcelo Bielsa fielded the same lineup for the seventh consecutive game, with Gignac playing in front of Florian Thauvin and Andre Ayew on the wings.
Looking for a first win against Marseille since 1997, the hosts started well and took possession of the midfield.
Thauvin caused Caen’s defense countless problems with his pace and intelligent runs but missed a good chance in the 15th when he was left unmarked at the far post but fluffed his header.
Newly promoted Caen did not look intimidated as Mathieu Duhamel responded with a superb 40-meter strike that brushed passed the woodwork.
Marseille gradually took the upper hand as Caen players struggled to cope with the visitors’ pressure and were pegged back in their own half. Caen goalkeeper Remy Vercoutre made a fine reflex save to deny Giannelli Imbula’s powerful shot.
Marseille returned from the dressing room with the same intentions, and Caen finally gave way when Romao made the most of substitute Romain Alessandrini’s precise corner kick to head the ball home.
The hosts hit back immediately with another superb header into the top right corner from Damien Da Silva that was disallowed for an offside position. But Marseille’s defense was made to pay for its passivity soon after when Musavu-King took advantage of another well-taken free kick to beat Mandanda.
Gignac settled the issue with a powerful shot that gave Vercoutre no chance.
Elsewhere, Evian continued its recovery with a third consecutive win — a 3-0 defeat of Metz — and Paul Georges Ntep scored a brace as Rennes claimed a first victory in five games, beating Lens 2-0.
Lorient ended a four-match losing streak with a 2-0 win at Bastia, and a last-minute goal from Lloyd Palun secured a 1-1 draw for Nice against Montpellier after Vitorino Hilton put the visitors ahead at Allianz Riviera.