Marseille beats Brest 1-0 in French leagueAP , Associated Press
Apr. 20, 2013 1:15 PM ET
MARSEILLE, France (AP) — Marseille kept its slim title hopes alive by defeating Brest 1-0 on Saturday to pull within six points of leader Paris Saint-Germain in the French league.
Marseille needed a victory to stay second in the standings after Lyon edged Montpellier 2-1 on Friday. The Mediterranean side has a two-point lead over third-place Lyon.
Benoit Cheyrou scored the winning goal on the stroke of halftime with a curling free kick that bounced off the near post and into the net.
"We have improved in our weak moments," Marseille coach Elie Baup said. "At the start of the season, we had less control in those weak moments. Now, we stay calm. We manage to keep the ball a bit better when we feel that we can't trouble our opponent."
Alaixys Romao burst from midfield in a dull first half and got tripped by Brest midfielder Ousmane Coulibaly in the 44th minute. Cheyrou took the subsequent free kick to beat goalkeeper Alexis Thebaux from 25 yards.
Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda kept a sixth straight clean sheet by palming away a long-range effort from forward Charlison Benschop in the 50th and parrying a low drive from midfielder Kamel Chafni in the 75th.
Marseille defender Lucas Mendes headed in a free kick from Mathieu Valbuena in the 71st, but his goal was disallowed for offside.
Brest stretched its losing streak to six games to remain in the relegation zone.
"We must keep on fighting until the end of the season," Brest coach Corentin Martins said. "As long as we have a chance mathematically to escape relegation, we will hang tough."
On Sunday, it's: Bastia vs. Lille; Nancy vs. Evian; Reims vs. Valenciennes; Sochaux vs. Bordeaux; Toulouse vs. Lorient ; and Paris Saint-Germain vs. Nice.
Rennes vs. Troyes and Saint-Etienne vs. Ajaccio have been postponed to Wednesday as Rennes will face Saint-Etienne in the League Cup final on Saturday.