PARIS (AFP) – Marseille earned a club record-equalling eighth consecutive league win on Sunday, beating Toulouse 2-0 at the Stade Velodrome to move seven points clear at the top of Ligue 1.
First-half goals from Nicolas Nkoulou and the in-form Andre-Pierre Gignac proved enough for Marcelo Bielsa’s side to take all three points as OM matched their previous record for consecutive league victories set in 1937 and in 1998.
OM, who have won every game since starting the campaign with a draw and a defeat, are seven points above reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain and Bordeaux, who were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Caen on Sunday afternoon.
Marseille were looking to pick up where they left off before the international break and Bielsa’s starting line-up was unchanged from that which triumphed 2-1 at Caen a fortnight ago.
There was a new record crowd at the recently renovated Velodrome, with the figure of 61,846 beating the previous mark of 59,120 set in the 2007 rugby World Cup quarter-final between Australia and England.
The home fans almost saw their side fall behind early on against an in-form Toulouse as Steve Mandanda turned a Martin Braithwaite shot onto the bar.
But OM got the breakthrough in the 21st minute, Cameroon defender Nkoulou rising to convert a Dimitri Payet free-kick, the ball appearing to go into the net off his shoulder.
Florian Thauvin then shot just wide before the home side doubled their lead nine minutes before the interval as Gignac – who starred in France’s friendly win against Armenia in midweek – netted his 10th goal in as many league games this season.
Toulouse initially lost possession from a throw-in and then failed to clear a cross from the Marseille left, allowing Gignac to sweep the ball into the net against his old club.
The last time the south-coast club won eight league games in a row was in 1998, when their run was ended in a 2-1 defeat at Lyon, who will be Marseille’s opponents next weekend.
Yoann Gourcuff scored a brace as Lyon extended their unbeaten run to six games with a 5-1 thrashing of 2012 champions Montpellier.