Olympique de Marseille’s stunning start to the Ligue 1 season, which had seen them win six from six games, came to a spectacular end on Sunday as midtable Valenciennes whipped them 4-1.
A brace by much-traveled striker Anthony Le Tallec and one apiece from Foued Kadir — gifted to him by Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda — and Gael Danic gave Valenciennes the points, with Jordan Ayew scoring a consolation in stoppage-time.
It was Marseille’s first defeat in all competitions this season, but they still top the table by three points from second-placed Paris Saint-Germain.
Marseille coach Elie Baup said Valenciennes had controlled the game from the outset.
“Nothing worked for us or went right for us,” said Baup, who took over when Didier Deschamps resigned in early July. “To go in 3-0 down at halftime gave us no way back. The verdict this evening is a heavy one, brutal, and it will have ramifications. We will talk about it among ourselves and work on things during the week. However, we should not dwell on such a heavy defeat for ever. We should look ahead, and think about our next challenge and how to put things right.”
Marseille had only conceded one goal in Ligue 1 this season prior to the game, but they fell behind in the 16th minute from a superb free-kick by Danic, although Mandanda let rip at his defensive wall for breaking apart.
Le Tallec, who numbers unsuccessful spells at both Liverpool and Sunderland among his many clubs, doubled the lead in the 35th minute by putting away an excellent cross from Danic.
Any hope Marseille had of regrouping after the break disappeared when Mandanda completely fluffed a throw from inside his area which landed at Kadir’s feet just outside the box and he put it away with the Marseille goalkeeper vainly trying to regain his position.
Le Tallec added his second in the 65th minute with a header from another Danic cross to send the record attendance of more than 22,000 wild and give Marseille plenty to think about ahead of their home game with bitter rivals PSG next Sunday.
It maintained Valenciennes’ hold over Marseille, who have beaten them just once since the former were promoted in 2006.
Olympique Lyonnais also lost their unbeaten record after going down 2-0 at home to Girondins de Bordeaux amid controversy at the Stade de Gerland.
Benoit Tremoulinas’ deflected shot put Bordeaux ahead in the 65th minute, before Alexandre Lacazette had a header wrongly disallowed for Lyon when the assistant referee incorrectly ruled that Clement Grenier’s corner had curled out of play.
A close-range Cheick Diabate header doubled Bordeaux’s lead with eight minutes remaining, as they extended their run of games without defeat to 10 in all competitions and moved up to fifth place in Ligue 1.
Lyon remain third, one point behind PSG and four points shy of Marseille.
Meanwhile, AS Saint-Etienne have now gone three games without a win in Ligue 1 after drawing 0-0 at home to promoted Stade de Reims, who have assembled a five-match unbeaten run since losing their first two matches on their return to the French elite.