Dijon (France): Mario Balotelli’s second goal in three games helped Marseille to a 2-1 win at Dijon in the French league on Friday. The Italy striker, who joined last month from Nice, turned the ball in from close range in the 57th minute after winger Florian Thauvin headed on a corner from the right. Marseille’s second straight victory moved the side up to fifth ahead of this weekend’s matches, and also took some pressure off coach Rudi Garcia following a poor run of results.
While Balotelli was the team’s most dangerous player, a handling error from veteran goalkeeper Steve Mandanda led to Dijon’s 18th-minute opener. Although Mandanda covered his near post to smother defender Fouad Chafik’s long-range shot, he did not push the ball away far enough and midfielder Jordan Marie followed up to drive it home. Balotelli leveled before Argentine forward Lucas Ocampos produced a well-taken goal in the 73rd, cleverly cutting inside a defender on the edge of the area and curling the ball into the top corner. On Saturday, runaway league leader Paris Saint-Germain is at
home to Bordeaux Villarreal still away from win
Madrid: Villarreal remained winless in 10 consecutive Spanish league matches after a 0-0 draw at 14th-place Valladolid on Friday. The visitors, who are used to finishing much higher in the standings, stayed second from bottom with three victories from 23 games. It was Villarreal’s second straight draw since re-hiring coach Javi Calleja in place of Luis Garcia Plaza, less than two months after he was fired.
“We have to keep trying,” goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo said. “I think we played a disciplined match and there are positive things we can take from it.” Villarreal faces two tough matches next: at home against Sevilla and away to Atletico Madrid.