23.09.2014 20:57 h

Marseille thrash Reims to soar clear in Ligue 1

High-flying Marseille picked up their fifth straight victory on Tuesday as Ligue 1 top scorer Andre-Pierre Gignac claimed a brace in a 5-0 thrashing of Reims.

Gignac could even afford the luxury of a missed eighth-minute penalty, before scoring two first-half goals while Ghana international Andre Ayew also struck twice in a one-sided affair at the Stade Auguste Delaune.

The win takes Marcelo Bielsa's in-form side three points clear at the top of the French table ahead of a busy Wednesday slate, before Saint-Etienne host Bordeaux on Thursday with both teams currently tied for second.

Gignac, who was left out of Didier Deschamps' World Cup team that reached the quarter-finals in Brazil, gave the national coach food for thought as he took his lead-leading tally to eight goals in seven matches.

France are preparing to host Euro 2016 and qualify automatically.

French-born Ayew, who helped Ghana finish runners-up to Egypt at the 2010 African Championships, put the result beyond doubt seven minutes after half-time, before an audacious back-heeled goal on the hour mark added further gloss.

Marseille, who won the last of their nine French titles in 2010 under Deschamps, put the icing on the cake with 16 minutes remaining when Gianelli Imbula celebrated a rare goal much to the delight of the travelling Velodrome faithful.

In the only other match in Ligue 1 action on Tuesday, eighth-placed Brittany side Rennes host lower table Toulouse.

Defending champions Paris Saint-Germain are now five points adrift, and will be without injured striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic for their trip to Caen on Wednesday, while fourth-placed Lille travel to the Cote d'Azur and a tie against fourth-from-bottom Nice.

Montpellier, the 2012 champions under current Lille head coach Rene Girard, host last season's runners-up Monaco, before Thursday's big clash at the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium between Saint-Etienne and Bordeaux.