Olympique de Marseille beat AS Saint-Etienne in the EA League 1 Games final at Audi Field in Washington on Sunday evening (2-1).
Forever the first. Victors over AS Saint-Etienne on Sunday evening at Audi Field in Washington (2-1), the Olympique de Marseille players won the first edition of the EA Ligue 1 Games, a friendly tournament that brought together the two finalists, as well as Girondins de Bordeaux and Montpellier Hérault SC, in the USA.
While a light wind offered some small respite to the teams in the summer heat of Washington, D.C., the match began at a high pace. Dimitri Payet tested Stéphane Ruffier early with a powerful free kick (10th), but in the end it was break from Maxime Lopez that unlocked the game. Strootman released Dimitri Payet on the left and the Marseille No. 10 dummied a shot before firing triumphantly home for his third goal of the tournament (1-0, 12th).
ASSE hit back
However, an equaliser came a few minutes later when newly signed ASSE striker Denis Bouanga crossed from the right, setting up Arnaud Nordin - who had proven dangerous on the left flank - for a header that left Steve Mandanda no chance (17', 1-1). Shortly after the half-hour of play, it was bad news for André Villas-Boas with Luiz Gustavo forced off with an ankle complaint.
Debut for Alvaro
In a well-matched second half, Mathieu Debuchy went close to heading in from a Romain Hamouma corner (60'), but it was a strike from Nemanja Radonjic that gave the south-coast side the lead (2-1, 77'). The Serbian winger cut in from the left before firing a powerful shot into the opposite top corner to beat Stéphane Ruffier.
The end of the game saw Les Verts dominate territorially but another leveller just wouldn't materialise. It was in this context that Spanish defender Alvaro Gonzalez - signed days earlier from Villarreal - made his OM debut, playing the final ten minutes. He did pick up a yellow card, but it wasn't enough to tarnish the evening for OM, who won the final 2-1 to lift the inaugural EA Ligue 1 Games trophy.
Ealier in the day, Bordeaux had beaten Montpellier 2-1 in the third-place play-off.