Tue, Apr 07, 2015 - Page 19 News List

PSG fight back to beat Marseille

AFP, PARIS

Paris Saint-Germain’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic, center, vies for the ball with Olympique de Marseille’s Rod Fanni, left, and Alaixys Romao, second right, in their Ligue 1 match at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille, France, on Sunday.

Photo: AFP

Paris Saint-Germain must now be considered favorites to win a third consecutive Ligue 1 title after coming from behind to beat fierce enemies Olympique de Marseille 3-2 in Le Classique at the Stade Velodrome on Sunday.

Marseille held a 2-1 lead at the interval thanks to Andre-Pierre Gignac’s brace either side of a Blaise Matuidi beauty, but two goals in the first six minutes of the second half swung the match decisively in the capital club’s favor.

Marquinhos equalized and then Jeremy Morel’s own-goal in the 51st minute allowed PSG to claim a seventh consecutive victory against l’OM in all competitions as Laurent Blanc’s side moved back to the top of the table, a point above Olympique Lyonnais.

“Unfortunately tonight [Sunday], we lost two players, which is worrying for the upcoming matches,” Matuidi told Canal Plus in reference to injuries picked up by David Luiz and Thiago Motta. “Overall, we played a great match. It wasn’t easy against a good Marseille team, but I think the best team won.”

“It’s up to us to fight to the end and we’ll do everything to win a maximum of trophies,” Matuidi added, with PSG in the hunt for the Ligue 1 title, the UEFA Champions League, the Coupe de France and the Coupe de la Ligue.

PSG coach Laurent Blanc was happy with the win, but disappointed with the injuries.

“We’ll savor the victory, but we paid an expensive price because we lost two players. That is a problem, but we are very happy to have won here at Marseille,” the former Girondins de Bordeaux and France coach said.

Marseille are now five points off the top in third, which will surely prove fatal to their title chances.

Not only that, but Bielsa’s team — who had Andre Ayew red-carded after the final whistle — are hanging onto the third and the final Champions League qualifying berth, with fourth-placed AS Monaco only three points behind with a game in hand.

It was an intimidating environment for PSG, whose team bus was struck by missiles — including a golf ball that smashed a window — en route to the ground.

It was Marseille who opened the scoring on the half-hour mark, Gignac switching the play to Dimitri Payet on the right and then outmuscling Marquinhos to head home his teammate’s cross at the back post.

When PSG lost David Luiz to a hamstring injury, it looked like it would not be their night, but Matuidi silenced the Stade Velodrome in the 35th minute with a magnificent curling strike into the top corner of the net with his weaker right foot.

However, Marseille reclaimed the lead two minutes before the interval.

Alaixys Romao hounded Pastore out of possession in midfield and suddenly Gignac found himself through on goal with just Salvatore Sirigu to beat. His finish for his 18th goal of the season was cool and the home support greeted the halftime whistle as though they had won the game.

However, PSG drew level on 49 minutes, Marquinhos firing into the roof of the net after a Zlatan Ibrahimovic free-kick struck Rod Fanni inside the penalty area and broke to the Brazilian defender.

Two minutes later they scored again, Morel turning a Pastore ball from the left into his own net under pressure from Ibrahimovic.

PSG are in pole position with seven matches remaining, although they saw Thiago Motta limp off injured late on and Lyon remain very much in contention after winning 3-1 at En Avant de Guingamp on Saturday.

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