Goals from Denis Bouanga, Sada Thioub and Renaud Ripart earned last season’s Division Two runners-up a famous scalp in their first home game in the French topflight since the 1992/93 season.
And it came a week after they opened with a 4-3 win at Angers which has lifted the side with the lowest Ligue 1 budget into the unlikely position of second in the fledgling table, level on points with the wealthiest team in the league, Paris Saint-Germain.
As if this embarrassing loss wasn’t punishment enough for Marseille coach Rudi Garcia he suffered another blow when his World Cup winning keeper Steve Mandanda had to come off with an apparent injured thigh.
Bouanga stunned Garcia’s men when he fired the former employers of Eric Cantona into a 34th minute lead, Mustapha Diallo supplying the assist from the left.
The Stade des Costieres erupted in celebration to mark the club’s first Ligue 1 goal scored at home in 25 years.
The Le Mans-born Gabon international was inking his name in the club’s history just a month after joining from Lorient.
Nimes were in front until four minutes after the restart when Florian Thauvin stylishly completed a move against the run of play begun when Valere Germain intercepted a Nimes freekick.
Parity lasted until after the hour when Bouanga was at the heart of a counter finished off by Thioub who rounded Mandanda to tap in to an empty net.
Marseille’s hopes of salvaging something took a hit when Mandanda came off, with Yohann Pele coming on in the France World Cup winner’s place.
Ripart rounded off a magical evening for Nimes three minutes from time to leave Marseille already lagging three points off PSG.
Earlier, Bordeaux were beaten 2-1 by Toulouse with the loss failing to lift spirits at the club after the suspension of coach Gustavo Poyet.
The Uruguayan’s future is in serious doubt after he was served with a one week ban for an angry tirade at club bosses over the sale of striker Gaetan Laborde to Ligue 1 rivals Montpellier.
Eric Bedouet, one of Poyet’s assistants, took charge for Sunday’s derby but hopes of a pick-me-up on the pitch were dashed by Leya Iseka and Mathieu Dossevi, who scored for Toulouse in either half.
Bedouet sprang to the defence of Poyet at the post-match press conference, describing the former Chelsea and Tottenham player as “a charming, competent man…who loves the club”.
“It’s never ideal when a manager leaves like that,” he added in explanation of the team’s showing in the derby defeat.
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