Marseille continued to impress on the road in the new Ligue 1 season by claiming a 2-0 win over Lorient at the Stade du Moustoir.
Mathieu Valbuena celebrated his 28th birthday with a superb second-half free-kick to fire his team level on points with leaders Monaco, for 24 hours at least, before Andre Ayew struck in stoppage time to wrap up all three points.
Lorient have managed only two wins over Marseille in Brittany in 11 attempts and defeat for Christian Gourcuff’s men on Saturday means their early-season unbeaten home record is now at an end.
L’OM, however, have registered three wins and two draws away from home this term.
The hosts began brightly and almost took an early lead through Yann Jouffre but his effort from 12 yards was diverted wide after being picked out by Kevin Monnet-Paquet.
With Marseille struggling to carve out any real opportunities, the hosts thought they had a good shout for a penalty on the half-hour mark when Lucas Mendes appeared to pull back Vincent Aboubakar, but referee Olivier Thual was unmoved.
Ellie Baup’s men almost paid the price for a slow start when the busy Jouffre whipped a teasing cross into the area, which Mendes almost turned into his own net, but the Brazilian defender was fortunate to see the ball shoot wide of a post.
The visitors almost stole the lead just before the interval when Andre Ayew picked out Valbuena. However, the birthday boy’s shot on the turn nestled in the side netting of Fabien Audard’s goal.
Valbuena went close again moments later with the best chance of the opening 45 minutes but the France international fired wide as Marseille finished the half strongly.
L’OM looked to continue where they left off straight from the restart but Jordan Ayew was denied by Audard as he cut inside before unleashing a powerful effort at goal.
The visitors’ efforts early in the second half paid off when Gianelli Imbula was hauled down by Wesley Lautoa on the edge of the area and Thual awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position. Valbuena took charge and curled a superb unstoppable shot around the Lorient wall and into the right corner to leave Audard with no chance.
Lorient refused to lie down, though, and came back into the game but Jouffre was wasteful as he fired straight at Steve Mandanda before forcing another save from the France goalkeeper moments later.
Youngster Bryan Pele tested Mandanda with a volley from the edge of the area as the clock ticked down but L’OM struck late on to guarantee themselves all three points.
Substitute Saber Khelifa released Andre Ayew into the left side of the area and the Ghanaian confidently knocked the ball beyond Audard.