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Joey Barton makes debut for Marseille

About time! Barton finally makes league debut for Marseille and helps French side move level with PSG at summit

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UPDATED:

00:04 GMT, 26 November 2012

QPR loanee Joey Barton finally made his league debut for French outfit Marseille on Sunday, helping his side move level on points with leaders Paris Saint-Germain in the process.

The Rangers exile had a lengthy wait for his first domestic match for the Ligue 1 team, and could only play in the Europa League while he served his 12-match ban.

But Barton was handed a start at Stade Velodrome in front of the home crowd as Marseille beat Lille 1-0.

Back with a bang: Joey Barton was inches away from marking his Ligue 1 debut with a goal

Back with a bang: Joey Barton was inches away from marking his Ligue 1 debut with a goal

Up for the fight: Barton (left) picked up a yellow card within the first 30 minutes of the match

Up for the fight: Barton (left) picked up a yellow card within the first 30 minutes of the match

Marseille took their time to get a foothold in the game, as Nolan Roux and Marvin Martin went close in the early stages.

But the hosts would have been in front after 13 minutes if it weren't for a splendid triple save from Mickael Landreau as he denied Andre Ayew, then Mathieu Valbuena and then Benoit Cheyrou.

Barton wasted little time in picking up his first caution in French football, as the QPR midfielder was booked after 22 minutes for a strong challenge on Florent Balmont.

But the Englishman settled well into the match, and so too did Marseille.

Balmont was red-carded before the break after chopping down Valbuena when the Frenchman was through on Landreau's goal

Need a hand Barton helped his side join Paris Saint-Germain at the top of the table

Need a hand Barton helped his side join Paris Saint-Germain at the top of the table

Goal threat: Jordan Ayew (right) scored the only goal of the game

Goal threat: Jordan Ayew (right) scored the only goal of the game

It went from bad to worse for Eden Hazard's former club as Lille went a goal down through a Jordan Ayew header just after half-time.

Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda was called upon on a number of occasions by the visitors, but proved himself more than up to the challenge with a couple of competent stops.

Barton, who also had stints with Manchester City and Newcastle, was inches away from marking his league debut with a peach of a goal.

The 30-year-old blasted an rasping drive from 25 yards, but it whistled past the stranded Landreau's post.

Marseille joined PSG at the top of the table on 26 points, having played one game less, but sit in second place with an inferior goal difference.

Off: Florent Balmont (left) saw red for a foul on Mathieu Valbuena (right)

Off: Florent Balmont (left) saw red for a foul on Mathieu Valbuena (right)

Grateful: Barton applauded the home crowd for their support

Grateful: Barton applauded the home crowd for their support

David Beckham not spotted as Paris St Germain draw with Lille

No Beckham and no win for PSG as French giants fail to take top spot

Paris St Germain suffered a double blow on Sunday as they missed the chance to move to the top Ligue 1 – and David Beckham wasn”t there to watch them.

Beckham has been strongly linked with a move to the French capital and it was expected that he would attend the 0-0 draw with Lille at the Parc des Princes, but he was not spotted in a packed and expectant crowd.

The result left PSG in second place with 37 points from 18 games, behind Montpellier on goal difference after the leaders drew 1-1 at home with Toulouse on Saturday.

Missing out: Paris

Missing out: Paris” Javier Pastore trudges off the pitch

Lille – for whom Joe Cole played – are unbeaten away from home in the league this season and have not lost in their last 17 games, leaving them in third on 35 points.

PSG, who had an opportunity to leapfrog Montpellier in the table, lacked creativity and goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu was forced to tip a fierce Florent Balmont blast over the bar in the 15th minute.

Antoine Kombouare”s side came close five minutes later when Javier Pastore crossed to Kevin Gameiro, whose right-footed attempt went just wide.

English connection: Joe Cole (left) played for Lille

English connection: Joe Cole (left) played for Lille

Matt Fortune

Lille had the best chance in the 77th minute when Idrissa Gueye”s powerful shot was punched clear by Sirigu with Rudi Garcia”s team dominating possession.

Kombouare replaced Pastore and Gameiro with Sylvain Armand and Guillaume Hoarau in a late attempt to snatch all three points but the Lille defence kept their composure.

Beckham is expected to sign an 18-month deal with the Qatari-owned club.