Marseille dominate Clasico
A 25-minute Gabriel Heinze header was enough for OM to take the honours in the Clasico, dominating a struggling Paris to climb to fourth place, just three points shy of leaders Bordeaux.
Friday November 20, 2009
Olympique de Marseille / Paris Saint-Germain : 1 - 0
Marseille produced a dominant display in the rescheduled Clasico, putting and end to a run of two straight draws with a solid if not emphatic 1-0 win over Paris Saint-German at the Stade Vélodrome on Friday night.
Didier Deschamps opted to start with Lucho Gonzalez on the bench and the wayward Hatem Ben Arfa in the stands, but even without these attacking assets OM took a firm grip on the match right from the off.
Both Brandao and Mamadou Niang went close with headed efforts in the first five minutes, OM seemingly able to open up a hesitant Paris defence at will, with Mathieu Valbuena, Fabrice Abriel and Benoît Cheyrou providing precision as well as inspiration from midfield.
Deschamps made it clear following the 5-5 draw with Lyon that he was not impressed with having conceded so many and his words must have hit home, his side ably defending with 11 men, denying Paris the space and time to put together any meaningful passages of play.
Marseille's tactical superiority was most evident from set pieces and it was from a Fabrice Abriel free kick in the 25th minute that Marseille secured the three points.
Much of the Paris defence went missing as Marseille flooded the area and it was Argentine international Gabriel Heinze who nodded Abriel's floated ball past Grégory Coupet for his first Ligue 1 goal for OM - against his former team.
Antoine Kombouaré's Paris side, still without star striker Guillaume Hoarau and sorely missing captain Claude Makelele's steel in midfield, seemed at a loss as to how to overcome the movement, pressing and fluid play of their hosts.
Denied the space to create attacking moves and constantly forced to drop back to defend against Marseille's insistent incursions, the Paris midfield could offer little support to lone striker Mevlut Erding, whose best chance came in the 38th minute when his low shot on the turn from 6 yards drew an excellent diving save from Steve Mandanda.
Niang hits the post
Yet it was Marseille that went closest to troubling the scorers when Niang saw his 20-metre drive come cannoning off the post after a fine finger-tip save from Grégory Coupet in the visitors' goal on 41 minutes.
Stéphane Sessegnon was effectively shackled by the attentions of first Charles Mbia (who went off with an ankle injury in the 19th minute) and then his replacement Edouard Cissé, another Paris old boy, leaving the men from the capital little inspiration with which to chase the equaliser.
OM move to within striking distance
Despite finishing much stronger after the entrance of Ludovic Giuly on 70 minutes, Paris failed to seriously threaten Deschamps' men, and the scoreline remained at 1-0 at the final whistle.
Marseille take an important step forward with the win, climbing within striking distance of leaders Bordeaux, and doing so in a manner that suggests their inconsistent start to the season may well be behind them.
No doubt Deschamps will be disappointed his side failed to kill off a match they so roundly dominated, but certainly Antoine Kombouaré would choose to have that headache rather than the one that has seen his side win just one of their last eight league matches.
Now in 13th place, alarm bells are surely ringing at the capital club and Kombouaré has some serious work to do to sort out his side's tactical and technical problems before the season turns into an all-too familiar fight against relegation.>> Team Sheet