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France - Ligue 1
April 8, 2012
• Parc des Princes, Paris
Referee: A. Gautier
• Attendance: 46252
J. Ménez 6'
A. Ayew 60'
That is it from me this evening, I've been Mohammed Ali, and stick with Goal.com for much more from the world of football. I'll see you again pretty soon.
A dejected Marseille on the worst form in their history now face Ligue 1 leaders Montpellier in their game in hand on Wednesday before turning out in their third Coupe de la Ligue Final in a row against Lyon on Saturday at the Stade de France. A massive week for them has started in the worst possible way.
Full-time in the Clasico. Marseille fall to yet another defeat, their tenth in 11 competitive games. Didier Deschamps' men were not as poor as in recent weeks, but it is Carlo Ancelotti's men who go joint-top though have played a game extra.
90' + 3'
FULL-TIME: Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Olympique de Marseille.
90' + 2'
N'Koulou makes a great challenge to deny Bodmer, but Marseille cannot get the ball to the other end. The Parc is on the brink of delight, with seconds remaining. Marseille haven't exactly been poor, but woeful finishing and a reliance on a half-fit Remy has seen them suffer again.
90' + 1'
A very deep cross from the right wing meets Brandao, who cannot direct the ball goalwards from a very acute angle. Time running out for the visitors.
THREE ADDED MINUTES SIGNALLED.
Marseille have a corner, yet again Sirigu claims a loose ball.
PSG substitution sees goalscorer Menez be replaced in favour of Mamadou Sakho. PSG adding in another defender to quell another Marseille onslaught.
Yellow/Red M. Sissoko
RED CARD SISSOKO! The PSG captain for this evening is given his marching orders after yet another crunching challenge on Ayew Can PSG see out the remainder of the game with 10 men? Bodmer also booked too.
Upon second viewing, that should've been a red for Brandao. Disgusting challenge on Sirigu as the Brazilian deliberately sticks his foot on the back of Sirigu's calf, well away from the ball. Very lucky to have stayed on the field.
Yellow Card Brandao
Yellow Card Milan Biševac
Well, it wouldn't be a Clasico without a bit of handbags from the players. Brandao goes in late on 'keeper Sirigu, and the entire PSG team converge furiously on the Brazilian. After a lengthy talk by referee Gautier, Brandao is booked, as is Bisevac for dissent.
Marseille have been hitting the ascendancy in the last few moments and a dangerous free-kick from Valbuena is cleared hastily. Hoarau on for Nene.
CHEYROU!! WHAT A MISS! WHAT A HOWLER! Fantastic ball in to bamboozle the PSG defence by Ayew to find Cheyrou, and the midfielder inexplicably fires miles over the bar from a few yards out. Didier Deschamps crouchs down in agony at that miss, and rightly so!
GREAT SAVE SIRIGU! A wonderful save from the Italian who denies the visitors with a low save to claw away the corner.
Fanni is fed into acres of space, with his cross being charged down by Maxwell. Corner to Marseille.
A very deep cross from Nene picks out Alex who stops it form going out of play, directing his header back into the box with Marseille clearing the ball aptly.
12 minutes left for Marseille to salvage something from the Clasico. Sissoko's cross is deflected out for a corner to PSG. They are stepping up their efforts late on.
Ayew gives the PSG players the run around, cutting in on the edge of the penalty area and opting to shoot at goal. Unluckily, however the ball hits an offside Mathieu Valbuena on its way out.
Morgan Amalfitano and Loic Remy are replaced in favour of strikers Brandao and Andre-Pierre Gignac. They have only one league goal between them this season. Can they rescue a faltering Marseille?
Penalty?! NO! Certainly looked like it! Azpiliceuta goes shoulder to shoulder with Menez, but he is barged off the ball with the referee ordering play to continue.
Rod Fanni spreads a wonderful ball out wide in the path of Amalfitano who wasn't offside, despite the assistant's flag going up. Marseille readying another substitution.
Chants of 'Alex' reverberate around the Parc des Princes, though the set-piece itself was desperately poor, going miles wide.
Benoit Cheyrou lunges in on Nene, with a free-kick awarded in a very dangerous position. Alex is standing over it, and we all know his penchant for powerful long-range free-kicks.
Another random fact for you folks. Carlo Ancelotti's win percentage since joining PSG is 45%. That figure is considerably lower than the 63% achieved by Antoine Koumbouare until his sacking in December.
The home fans show their appreciation at Menez who tracks back to dispossess Fani after a wonderful switch from Azpilicueta on the other flank.
First substiution of the game sees Javier Pastore replaced by Mathieu Bodmer.
Marseille attempt to issue a response of their own as Loic Remy heads the ball past Alex, and over the bar. Substitutions are being readied.
What a response from Ancelotti's men who recover from a silent Parc des Princes and send their fans into delirium once more. Alex's header was so pin-point and accurate, that Mandanda could do nothing as it skimmed the post on its way in.
GOOOAALLL!! PSG AHEAD AGAIN! What must Marseille be feling? An incredible response has seen les Parisiens regain the lead within 30 seconds. From a corner, Alex rose highest to head home past Mandanda. When you're luck's out, your luck is really out.
Assist Loïc Remy
Goal A. Ayew
GOOOAAAALLL!! MARSEILLE HAVE THE EQUALISER! Remember I said that OM would be most likely to score from a header? I've been proved right. Fantastic cross to pick out Remy by Azpilicueta, with the striker heading onto Ayew who consequently directed it into the box. GAME ON!!!
Another foul, this time on Thiago Motta by Amalfitano brings yet another ring of boos from the Parisien faithful. Marseille still attempting to penetrate the last line of defence.
NENE! Fantastic pass from Menez which picks out the top scorer, but the Brazilian drags his volley inches wide. Should've been 2-0 there.
Marseille lead the possession count with 55% to PSG's 45%, with eight shots compared to the hosts' five. Ayew passes a ball back to Azpilicueta, but the ball frustatingly goes out of touch.
Ayew operating in the previous few minutes in a central position, which Valbuena occupied in the first half. Both teams still choosing to hold possession.
A rather subdued start to the second half, as Ancelotti's men opt to sit back to preserve their lead in the face of a Marseille onslaught. Maxwell's cross into the box was hastily dealt with by N'Koulou.
Amalfitano attempts to escape the clutches of his markers, but his cross is finally cleared by an alert PSG defence.
Ayew fouled about 30 yards from goal, but play continues as Maxwell gallops down the left flank.
Marseille get us underway in the second half, attacking from left to right.
The teams emerge for the second half, Marseille will be aiming to continue their dominance seen at the end of the first period.
A very physical first half it was too, with two yellow cards, two elbows into player's faces, as well as countless fouls and stoppages. A typical Clasico with a very tempered atmosphere. Second half shortly. Meanwhile, continue to send me your messages to @mohammedali_93 on Twitter.
An explosive start has given PSG the lead in a tempered Clasico. Jeremy Menez opened the scoring amid sustained pressure from les Parisiens, with his sixth minute strike beating Steve Mandanda. Both sides have offered little since, though the visitors have come very close to scoring on a number of occasions, notably from Morgan Amalfitano and Alou Diarra. All to play for in the second period.
HALF-TIME: Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 Olympique de Marseille (Menez 6')
45' + 3'
Valbuena takes the free-kick, and is launched straight at Sirigu who punches away, with Bisevac clearing. That is the end of the first-half.
45' + 2'
OM again take possession in the middle, with Cheyrou threading the ball in toward Fanni, who is dispossessed. Azpilicueta is tackled by Pastore, with Marseille given a free-kick right at the end of the half.
45' + 1'
Valbuena takes the corner amid cover from the riot police. Mbia rises highest to meet the ball, but again it is headed over.
45' + 1'
Two added minutes at the end of the first half. Will be more due to Ayew's injury.
Andre Ayew goes down after an elbow from Alex. The stretcher is out too. The Ghanaian is already playing with a shoulder injury, as he has postponed surgery till the end of the season.
Corner to Marseille picks out Mbia, who heads inches wide. It looks likely that if Marseille are going to score, it will be from set-pieces.
DIARRA! Deflected over! Another chance for OM after a decent run from Azpilicueta. The Spaniard picked out Diarra, whose goalbound effort was heroically deflected over by Alex.
Andre Ayew surges forward, driving his side on - but he is tackled by Motta as Maxwell and Matuidi combine on the left. Motta makes a run, with Nene flying off the pitch after an elbow in the face from Stephane Mbia. No card.
Play resumes, with a free-kick to Deschamps' men 30 metres out. Drifted into the box, with the ball headed wide by Remy.
Play has been stopped after Mohamed Sissoko stuck his foot into Cesar Azpilicueta. Flying in, and the young Spaniard requires treatment. Sissoko is already on a yellow. Marseille down to ten for now.
Nene runs offside, with Marseille again seeking to hold possession as the tempo is dropped to suit the visitors and absorb the hosts' high-pressing game.
Certain glum faces on the Marseille bench as Benoit Cheyrou spurns a good opportunity. Ten minutes to go of the first-half.
Christophe Jallet brings down a wonderful ball, though Azpilicueta retains his balance to clear the ball away.
Marseille have the ball in the PSG danger zone, though cannot quite capitalise on a promising build-up. Valbuena and Ayew intertwine to set up Remy, who cannot get his shot away after an overhit cross from Fanni.
Marseille have won five of the last six Clasicos, though are without a win in their last 10 games in all competitions. A win here would boost OM, and would put a spanner in the works for arch-enemies PSG's title hopes.
Menez clips onto a high ball, though takes an age to locate a team-mate before he is dispossessed by Azpilicueta. Corner drifted in is met by Pastore who heads over the bar.
AMALFITANO! VERY CLOSE! Superb half-volley from the midfielder who lashes a shot from outside the box which zips past Sirigu's post. First real chance for OM.
Nene gets the better of Fanni on the far side. The Brazilian delivers in a low floated ball, with Mandanda easily plucking that one out.
What do you make of this match so far? Are PSG well on their way to victory, and back into the title race? Or will OM respond, and arrest their poor form? Questions that need to be answered. Tweet me @mohammedali_93.
Azpilicueta and Ayew combine wonderfully, with the former delivering a fine cut-back behind the defence in towards Valbuena. Eventually, the ball falls to Remy whose poor cross is stifled by Jallet,
Sissoko drives through the middle, seeking out Menez but is dispossessed by Alou Diarra amid more boos.
OptaJean on Twitter: PSG have lost none of their seven Ligue 1 matches with Thiago Motta on the field.
Fanni holds off his marker and delivers in a cross from near the corner flag. Despite the right-back's good run, no-one is on hand to meet the delivery.
Valbeuna latches onto a lovely ball by Amalfitano, but goes to ground after a challenge from Maxwell. No penalty.
Marseille have a corner, and instantly PSG fans respond with a flurry of boos, noticing how vulnerable their defending from set pieces are.. Valbuena's corner is delayed after things are thrown to him, but when he does take, it is headed away by Alex.
Mandanda clears a loose ball in the path of Menez. The winger attempts to thread a through ball into Pastore, though Rod Fanni intercepts with a block. Menez calls for a foul after being tackled by Amalfitano, though this time the referee rules otherwise.
You'd be excused to think that this match actually contains any football after Andre Ayew slid into Nene. The Brazilian almost retaliated, but was pushed away by Carlo Ancelotti.
Yellow Card Mathieu Valbuena
Mathieu Valbuena gets his own back, and a yellow card. Takes down Christophe Jallet who goes to ground for a few minutes after an awkward foul. Boos all around.
Yellow Card M. Sissoko
A third foul in as many minutes, and a third stoppage. The game is descending into very much, a physical encounter. Sissoko lunged in on Ayew, who needed some treatment. The Malian receives the first yellow of the game.
And subsequently, Ayew lunges in on a PSG man and with PSG fans baying for Ayew's blood, he escapes a booking.
Valbuena goes down after a rash challenge, and is tended to by the physios. The PSG fans respond with a chorus of boos, turning ugly this one.
DIARRA! Saved on the line by Sirigu! Superb free-kick curled in by Valbuena with the former France captain heading a powerful header which was saved by the PSG custodian.
First blood to PSG, and it was well deserved after Marseille failed to clear the ball out of their own half. Ancelotti's choice of formation with no true striker looks to be paying off. Fantastic start for les Parisiens, and the Parc is in joyous mood!
Goal Jérémy Menez
GOAAALLLL!! AND WE HAVE AN OPENER ALREADY! Jeremy Menez fires the hosts in front, after a wonderful volley from Christophe Jallet was deflected into the path of the ex-Roma winger by Nicolas N'Koulou. No signs of offside as Menez fired in a low ball into the bottom corner and past the clutches of Mandanda!
Cesar Azpilicueta takes a free-kick after a poor challenge on Valbuena. Worth noting that the 22 year old plays on the left, after impressing in that unusual position in the defeat to Bayern Munich this week.
All PSG so far who have begun the Clasico in their typically high-pressure game. Menez delivers in a low ball, but it is dealt with by Marseille who finally move the ball out of their own box.
PASTORE! Narrowly over the bar, but should've tested Mandanda in any case. Very positive start from les Parisiens, after a deft Menez break on the left wing. Ball in towards Pastore outside the box, and it is fired over the bar with power.
An early PSG attack fizzles out after a decent build up play from the hosts. Somewhat bizarrely, Eden Hazard has been spotted inside the Parc, alongside Samuel Eto'o. Make of that what you will.
Carlo Ancelotti and Didier Deschamps embrace, and the whistle is blown! WE ARE UNDERWAY IN THE FRENCH CLASICO!
Pre-match formalities all over, and there is a very noticeable friendly feel to the build-up in the French capital. This is normally a fixture which is marred by hooliganism and arrests.
A massive slogan unfurled on the pitch at the Parc, labelled with the club slogan 'Ici c'est Paris'. Tonight's referee is Antony Gautier.
Atmosphere is building inside an electric Parc des Princes. Moments to go until kick-off.
TEAM NEWS: Carlo Ancelotti opts to drop both Guillaume Hoarau and Kevin Gameiro for the visit of enemies Marseille, with Jeremy Menez operating up front, flanked by Javier Pastore and Nene. Maxwell returns, though Milan Bisevac is given the nod ahead of captain Mamadou Sakho with the powerful midfield trio of Sissoko, Motta and Matuidi aiming to repel any counter attack. Marseille deploy Cesar Azpilicueta on the left flank, rather than his usual role on the right, with Mathieu Valbuena operating centrally, just behind Loic Remy.
MARSEILLE: (4-3-3): Mandanda, Azpilicueta, N'Koulou, Mbia, Fanni, Cheyrou, Diarra, Valbuena, Amalfitano, A. Ayew, Remy. SUBS: Bracigliano, Traoré, Morel, Sabo, Brandao, Gignac, J. Ayew.
CONFIRMED TEAM LINE-UPS: PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN: (4-3-2-1): Sirigu, Maxwell, Alex, Bisevac, Jallet, Sissoko, Matuidi, Thiago Motta, Nene, Pastore, Menez. SUBS: Douchez, Ceara, Sakho, Armand, Bodmer, Hoarau, Gameiro
Let's not forget to mention an explosive meeting between the two sides earlier this season. Marseille, who were reeling from successive defeats against a high-flying PSG quickly re-asserted their dominance with a superb 3-0 victory over PSG, then coached by Antoine Koumbouare. Goals from Loic Remy, Morgan Amalfitano and Andre Ayew sent OM into a subsequent three month unbeaten run. Can lightning strike twice?
Deschamps' men return to league action for the first time in two weeks after the LFP excused them from duty due to their European commitments. Nevertheless, the next six days are of utmost importance. After tonight's Clasico, OM host leaders Montpellier before aiming to save their season in the Coupe de la Ligue Final next Saturday against Lyon. Victory there will ensure a berth in the Europa League, something currently out of reach for a side languishing in ninth place.
Paris Saint-Germain's hopes of a first Ligue 1 title since 1994 took another blow last night when leaders Montpellier moved clear with a 2-1 victory over Sochaux. With Rene Girard's men having a game in hand after tonight, which is to be played on Wednesday against Marseille, les Parisiens must be focused on getting three points tonight, and hoping that their bitter rivals could do them a favour in three days' time.
Nevertheless, if Ancelotti thought he has it bad, he might do well to spare a thought for Didier Deschamps. Marseille have now gone a club record ten games without a win, including nine losses, culminating in Wednesday's 2-0 Champions League quarter-final defeat to Bayern Munich which completed a 4-0 aggregate loss. Steve Mandanda and Nicolas N'Koulou both questioned team-mates' efforts ins stemming the losing form, with the club reportedly having a two-hour crisis meeting earlier in the week. How a win would boost l'OM tonight.
Both sides enter this fixture - a fixture steeped in history - in crisis mode. Paris Saint-Germain have been rocked by a dressing room spat involving a few players, and was compounded by Nene's very public outburst in last weekend's shock 2-1 defeat to Nancy. The Brazilian, who is PSG's top scorer has apologised, but all is not well in Carlo Ancelotti's side with certain key players dropped last week after a recent run of bad form.
Enough of the names, here's mine. I'm Mohammed Ali, and I'll be guiding you through proceedings from the French capital for the next two hours. Of course, as always I'll be available to be contacted through Twitter. Send your messages, musings, comments, thoughts and predictions to @mohammedali_93. Team news to follow shortly.
Bon soir tout le monde! And welcome to Goal.com's LIVE commentary. It's the big one in France. Indeed, the biggest one in Europe this weekend. Paris Saint-Germain against Olympique de Marseille from the Parc des Princes. Call it Le Classique, Derby de France or simply a 'Clasico' - we're calling it huge.
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