French champions Marseille went top of Ligue 1 as a hat-trick from Ghanaian star Andre Ayew and a goal by his brother Jordan saw them ease to a 4-2 victory over Nice.
Andre’s hat-trick took him to ten goals for the season, while it was Jordan’s first, and put Marseille one point ahead of long-time leaders Lille with six matches remaining.
“Not everything was perfect, but its rare to score four goals so that is welcome,” said Marseille coach Didier Deschamps. “We had a difficult first-half, but improved in the second, like it was a second wind.
“I am delighted by the Ayew brothers. Andre I knew had a lot of qualities, but Jordan is younger and less experienced, but he showed his qualities this evening which is good as I don’t have many strikers.”
Marseille had taken the lead just before the half-hour mark as 21-year-old Andre profited from an error by Nice’s Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina, who dropped an easy take from a Marseille corner, and the son of former Africa player of the year Abdei Pele pounced to rifle the ball home for his eighth goal of the season.
However, the hosts deserved an equaliser and it duly came shortly before half-time as Marseille failed to clear a corner and Abdou Traore was on hand to quickest react and shoot past Steve Mandanda from close range.Nice thought they should have had a penalty in the 57th minute as Traore looked like he had been brought down by Mandanda, but to the astonishment of the visiting players and coaching staff alike the referee refused to give it.
Ayew brothers combine
At that point Marseille coach Didier Deschamps decided to send on Argentinian star Lucho and Jordan to add some fresh legs. Within two minutes it proved an inspiring decision as Jordan crossed and his brother was on hand to put the ball into the far corner of the goal.
Jordan turned from provider to goalscorer in the 79th minute as the 19-year-old scored a dream of a goal off a right-footed curling effort from outside the box which left Ospina transfixed. Mandanda then produced heroics of his own as he got down well to save Habib Bamogo’s penalty five minutes from the final whistle.
Marseille rammed home their superiority in the dying minutes as Andre rose magnificently to head home for his hat-trick, while Nice’s Argentinian defender Renato Civelli scored a consolation goal in extra time.