Marseille fight back in Clasico
Mamadou Niang is the hero for Marseille as the Senegal striker hits the winner for OM in a 2-1 victory over bitter rivals PSG at the Stade Veledrome.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Taiwo 37, Niang 45
Rothen 30 (pen)
Marseille moved up into fourth with a 2-1 win over PSG in a fast and frenetic 'Clasico' at the Velodrome.
OM fought back from a goal behind to register their fourth successive win. PSG, by contrast, looked to have been sucked back into the relegation battle at the foot of the table.
Nigerian defender Taye Taiwo began the fightback with a towering header after Jérôme Rothen had put PSG ahead from the spot. And just prior to half-time Mamadou Niang hit the winner to leave Marseille three points off third.
PSG started the encounter well and could have gone ahead through Sylvain Armand early on, the defender forcing a terrific save from on-form Steve Mandanda.
The sides traded ineffectual blows before PSG were awarded a generous penalty for a tackle on Amara Diané by Laurent Bonnart. The challenge seemed to be genuine, as well as being a yard outside the box. Nevertheless, Rothen kept his cool to put PSG ahead on the second attempt after the referee ordered a retake following encroachment.
The unlikely lead lasted only seven minutes as Taiwo earned a free-kick on the far left and then sauntered into the box to finish off Samir Nasri's set-piece. As Marseille looked for as second Cheyrou put a rasping shot wide and then Niang nearly found Landreau napping as the PSG 'keeper fumbled a Mathieu Valbuena effort.
It was coming though and moments later, Niang, played through by the electric Valbuena, unleashed a shot beyond Landreau for a 2-1 lead. It was the Senegal striker's fourth successive league goal in as many games.
The second period saw no goals but chances galore as PSG failed to capitalise on some opportunities in front of goal. Substitute Pauleta came close but again the nimble Mandanda was too quick for the capital's front line.
Djibril Cissé failed to put the game beyond PSG's reach with a terrible miss two minutes from time but by then the damage had already been done.
Eleven points off Lyon, Marseille's recent excellent run of form has catapulted them into the upper echelons of the table. Had it not been for their awful start to the season - OM won just two of their first 13 games - the south coast flyers would be knocking on the champion's door. For PSG, their equally woeful beginning to the season (four wins in their first 13) has been exacerbated by their continuing bad fortune. Seemingly safe in 11th position, Paul Le Guen's side lie just three points from 18th and the relegation zone.