Clasico class from Marseille
By D. Crossan
Marseille took the clasico honours 3-0 to condemn Paris Saint-Germain to a second straight league defeat, leaving Montpellier three points clear at the top. Loïc Rémy, Morgan Amalfitano and André Ayew netted for OM.
It was the third season running that Marseille had beaten PSG at the Stade Vélodrome and was the perfect fillip for Didier Deschamps' side after a 1-0 league loss at Montpellier had been followed up by a Champions League home reverse to Olympiakos.
PSG were shock 1-0 losers to lowly Nancy at the Parc des Princes last weekend and this first away loss of the season led to the first back-to-back league defeats for the club since the Qatari owners took over in the summer.
OM in front with first chance
Marseille were excellent value for the result and took the lead with the first chance of the night in the ninth minute. César Azpilicueta, OM's Spanish full-back, crossed from deep on the right and Rémy rose above Christophe Jallet to direct a header beyond Salvatore Sirigu. Diego Lugano had been attracted towards Lucho Gonzalez, who was restored to the starting line-up for the first time since mid-October, leaving Jallet too much ground to make up to prevent Rémy scoring his seventh league goal of the season. Such is the French international's improved aerial ability that this was his fifth headed goal of the campaign.
Jérémy Ménez flashed a shot wide at the other end but PSG's much vaunted attacking quartet - completed by Nene, Kevin Gameiro and Javier Pastore - struggled to make an impact as OM defended well, with defensive midfielders Stéphane Mbia and Alou Diarra covering plenty of ground.
Rémy injured, Sissoko hits post
Rémy had been the most dangerous attacker on either side until he was forced off with an ankle injury on the half-hour, to be replaced by young Jordan Ayew. Soon afterwards, PSG enjoyed their best chance of the half as Momo Sissoko, on his return from suspension, struck Steve Mandanda's left upright. The ball rebounded back on to the keeper's elbow and away to safety.
OM began the second half brightly with André Ayew's goalbound shot headed away by Sylvain Armand, and then Mbia powering over from the edge of the box after haring on to Jordan Ayew's deep cutback from the right.
Pastore, Gameiro subbed
As a sign of PSG's inability to pose a threat to Mandanda, Antoine Kombouaré withdrew Pastore, the 42 million euro man, and Gameiro, the club top scorer, with over half an hour to go to see if Mevlut Erding and Mathieu Bodmer could succeed where that duo had foundered.
Yet with 25 minutes to play Marseille scored a second goal. Amalfitano nicked the ball off Blaise Matuidi in midfield and it broke to Jordan Ayew. The Ghanaian slipped a pass into Amalfitano and the former Lorient man chose the perfect moment to score his first Ligue 1 goal since moving to OM in the close season. Again Sirigu had no chance.
Gloss on scoreline
Seven minutes from time Marseille put a gloss on the scoreline with a third goal as Amalfitano's cross was met by André Ayew's head. The ball deflected off PSG sub Marcos Ceara, wrongfooting Sirigu, whose efforts to prevent it crossing the line proved to be in vain.
Marseille are now nine points behind second-placed PSG and seven adrift of third-placed Lille and will hope now to embark on another unbeaten run like the seven-match streak without defeat prior to the Montpellier setback.
PSG are next in action at Red Bull Salzburg in the Europa League on Thursday, before hosting Auxerre next Sunday, in a match in which they can ill afford to drop further points.