Monthly Archives: May 2013

18/05/13 – Saint-Etienne v Marseille – Match Preview

18/05/13 –16:00 (UK)
Saint-Etienne v Marseille
Stade Geoffroy-Guichard
Ref. – Lionel Jaffredo

Having secured Champions League football last week, Marseille will look to end a fantastic season in style by securing a win over cup winners, Saint-Etienne. With ASSE still fighting for the 3rd Champions League spot against bitter rivals Lyon and Nice and Lille, there is a worry that Marseille players may already be in holiday mode and gift ASSE a victory.

Olympique de Marseille

Elie Baup has insisted the team will not be ‘free wheeling’ towards the summer break, and they have demonstrated enough professionalism throughout the season to suggest he has a point.
Although Rod Fanni is fit again, Benoit Cheyrou is still injured and was not part if the squad. The full travelling squad is made up of:
Mandanda, Samba, Abdallah, Fanni, Nkoulou, Diawara, Morel, Mendes, Ndiaye, Barton, Romao, Valbuena, A. Ayew, Kadir, Amalfitano, Gignac, J. Ayew and Sougou.
Expected line up and formation:

Mandanda
Abdallah Nkoulou Mendes Morel
Barton Romao
J. Ayew Valbuena A. Ayew
Gignac

Saint-Etienne

Christophe Galtier is without the services of François Clerc (suspended), Max Gradel and Jeremy Clement who are both injured.
ASSE’s last game came in a 3-1 defeat to Lorient, however, their last defeat before that was at the hands of Marseille in December.

Summary

The entertainment factor and result of this game will very much depend on what Marseille squad turns up. With the pressure on ASSE needing a win for Champions League football, their players, including ex-OM man Brandao, will certainly be up for the game.

Selected odds (Bet365 correct at time of publication)
Saint-Etienne: 1.80
Draw: 3.69
Marseille: 4.33

What might happen?
With the remaining fixtures psg are Ligue 1 champions and Stade Brest have been relegated, but there are still a host of scenarios at the end of this season. So lets have a quick look.
3rd & 4th (Champions League qualifying round/Europa League) – Lyon/Nice/Saint-Etienne/Lille
This weekends games betweent Nice and Lyon and ASSE’s game with OM may hold some importance but the final game of the season between Lille and ASSE could be a winner takes all match in terms of European football.
Relegation – Reims/Ajaccio/Sochaux/Nancy/Evian/Troyes
With only 1 team relegated, 2 teams from 6 could mathematically go down. Given their current run of form it seems unlikely that Troyes will pull off a great escape but it could still happen. Nancy-Bastia and Evian-Valenciennes the following week then Bastia-Sochaux, Valenciennes-Troyes and Brest-Nancy are all the stand out ’6 pointers’ in the final weeks.

17-19 May:
Nice v Lyon
Montpellier v Lille
psg v Brest
Rennes v Ajaccio
Reims v Lorient
Saint-Etienne v Marseille
Nancy v Bastia
Troyes v Bordeaux
Sochaux v Toulouse
Evian v Valenciennes

26 May:
Bastia v Sochaux
Lyon v Rennes
Brest v Nancy
Valenciennes v Troyes
Toulouse v Montpellier
Lorient v psg
Ajaccio v Nice
Bordeaux v Evian
Marseille v Reims
Lille v Saint-Etienne

Allez l’OM
Swanny (@Andrew_js3 & @MarseilleUK)

Ayew Double Ensures Champions League Awaits

Marseille 2v1 Toulouse
11/05/13
Stade Velodrome, Marseille Att. – 34,666

2 goals from the returning Andre Ayew guaranteed Marseille a top 3 finish, and ensured that psg would have to work for their title. Returning from suspension, Ayew lead the charge and a goal either side of half time, looks to have ensured Champions League football next season (3rd place would mean having to qualify for the group stages).

Toulouse certainly made life difficult for Marseille though, dominating large spells of possession and a late goal from Ben Basat gave a nervy edge to the ending.

Toulouse certainly started the better of the teams and threatened to open the scoring, though Mandanda’s palms were hardly warmed. Marseille struggled to keep up with Toulouse, who seemed to start where they left off against Lille last week. The visitors pressed well in midfield and as a result won the ball back almost 4 times more than OM in the midfield 3rd. More resolute defending from OM though stopped any of this possession leading to shots on target though and just before the half time whistle Marseille made them pay.

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Valbuena took the ball up on the right side and crossed neatly into the box. The flight meant that Ahamada couldn’t come to collect and Andre Ayew leapt to head home from the penalty spot.

The scond half continued in much the same way. Toulouse controlled the game well, but other than some shots from distance, Mandanda never looked too troubled.

Ayew looked to have put the game to bed on 62 minutes though as he netted his 2nd of the game after some of the more eye-catching play OM have put together this season. Valbuena was once again the architect as he spotted the through ball to Gignac. Gignac did well to cross the ball across the face of goal, and although it eluded everyone at first Amalfitano was on hand at the far post to divert it back to Ayew who had a simple finish.

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For the next 20 minutes, Marseille were in cruise-control. Enjoying a dominance in possession and threatening to even net a 3rd. But some slack defending in the final 10 minutes gave Toulouse a lifeline as Ben Yedder played in Ben Basat whose powerful shot straight through Mandanda’s legs gave the visitors the impetus to search for an equaliser at the close of the game.

Thankfully the Marseille defence stood tight and picked up another valuable win in a season that has surpassed most fans expectations.

 

Allez l’OM

(@MarseilleUK)

11/05/13 – Marseille v Toulouse – Match Preview

11/05/13 –16:00 (UK)
Marseille v Toulouse
Stade Velodrome, Marseille
Ref. – Saïd Ennjimi

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Marseille will hope to secure Champions League football for next season with a win over Toulouse at the weekend. A victory will guarantee 3rd place, and the safety of at least having the qualification round for the Champions League. Victory won’t be easy for OM though as Toulouse come into the match on the back of a well deserved 4-2 victory over Lille.

Olympique de Marseille

With 3 enforced changes last week, in the shape of Abdallah, Amalfitano and Barton, Elie Baup can welcome back Andre Ayew, although Rod Fanni Benoit Cheyrou are still unavailable.
Barton received a 2 game suspended ban over the weekend for his twitter comments about Thiago Silva. Abdullah has served the suspension he received for misdemeanours playing for the OM reserves.
The full squad is made up of: Mandanda, Samba, Abdallah, Nkoulou, Diawara, Morel, Mendes, Abergel, Barton, Romao, Abdullah, Valbuena, Andre Ayew, Kadir, Amalfitano, Sougou, Gignac and Jordan Ayew.
Expected line up and formation:

Mandanda
Abdallah Nkoulou Mendes Morel
Barton Romao
J. Ayew Valbuena A. Ayew
Gignac

Toulouse

After a solid start to Ligue 1, Alain Casanova’s side have slumped to a solid mid table position after picking up only 4 wins in the 16 games since the winter break. Other than the win over Lille the other 3 victories this year had come against the teams currently in the bottom 5 of the table.
The win over Lille was comfortable to say the least, with Toulouse being as good as Lille were bad. 2 goals in the first half came from shots from distance that Elana really should have done better with. The 2 second half goals were well worked and showed the quality that TFC have in players such as Rabiot, Braaten, Ben Basat and Ben Yedder, although again some fingers could be pointed at the Lille defence.
Likely line up and formation:

Ahamada
Akpro Yago Abdennour Aurier
Capoue
Braaten Didot Rabiot Sylla
Ben Basat

Summary

After offering up some goals and entertainment in the previous home game against Bastia, OM will hope to entertain the fans again in their penultimate home game of the season. Whether or not this comes through a solid, 1 goal win that guarantees the return of Champions League football or in a 5 goal thriller that guarantees the same, most fans realistically won’t mind. Lets finish a season that has probably surpassed most fans expectations, and build on that over the summer.

Selected odds (Bet365 correct at time of publication)
Marseille: 1.62
Draw: 3.60
Bastia: 6.00

Weekend Fixtures:
Lille 3v0 Reims
Brest v Sochaux
Valenciennes v Rennes
Bastia v Montpellier
Ajaccio v Troyes
Bordeaux v Nancy
Lorient v Saint-Etienne
Evian v Nice
Lyon v psg

What might happen?
With the remaining fixtures there are still a host of scenarios at the end of this season. So lets have a quick look.
Ligue 1 Champions – psg/Marseille
A win from their remaining 3 games will guarantee psg the title that most expected them to win, despite the possibility (unlikely as it is) that they could be docked points for Leonardo’s shoulder barge on the referee after the Valenciennes game. As psg play away to Lyon this week, the championship confirmation could be delayed until the following week with a Lyon win (unless a Marseille defeat by Toulouse).
2nd place (automatic Champions League qualification) – Marseille/Lyon/Nice/Saint-Etienne
Marseille are clearly in the driving seat for this with both Nice and ASSE requiring OM to pick up 0 points from their final games in order for them to qualify. Lyon can still make it to 72 points by winning all 3 games, so Marseille need 2 wins to ensure qualification.
3rd & 4th (Champions League qualifying round/Europa League) – Marseille/Lyon/Nice/Saint-Etienne/Lille
Other than a total collapse from OM the fight for 3rd place is really between Lyon, Nice and ASSE, giving next weeks game between Nice and Lyon extra significance. ASSE’s game with OM may hold some importance but the final game of the season between Lille and ASSE could be a winner takes all match in terms of European football.
Relegation – Valenciennes/Bastia/Reims/Ajaccio/Sochaux/Nancy/Evian/Troyes/Brest
With no teams yet relegated there are still 9 teams who could mathematically go down. Given their current run of form it seems unlikely that Troyes or Brest will pull off a great escape but it could still happen. Ajaccio-Troyes this week, Nancy-Bastia and Evian-Valenciennes the following week then Bastia-Sochaux, Valenciennes-Troyes and Brest-Nancy are all the stand out ‘6 pointers’ in the final weeks.

17-19 May:
Nice v Lyon
Montpellier v Lille
psg v Brest
Rennes v Ajaccio
Reims v Lorient
Saint-Etienne v Marseille
Nancy v Bastia
Troyes v Bordeaux
Sochaux v Toulouse
Evian v Valenciennes

26 May:
Bastia v Sochaux
Lyon v Rennes
Brest v Nancy
Valenciennes v Troyes
Toulouse v Montpellier
Lorient v psg
Ajaccio v Nice
Bordeaux v Evian
Marseille v Reims
Lille v Saint-Etienne

Allez l’OM
Swanny (@Andrew_js3 & @MarseilleUK)

Parisian Party Postponed as OM Pick Up The Points

04/05/13 – 16:00 (UK)

Marseille 2-1 Bastia

Stade Velodrome, Marseille – Att. 35,687

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Team: Mandanda – Abdallah, Nkoulou, Mendes, Morel – Barton, Romao – Amalfitano (’62 Sougou), Valbuena, J. Ayew (’85 Kadir) – Gignac 2

A much changed Marseille squad managed another win to make sure psg can’t mathematically win the ligue this weekend, and give themselves every chance of securing champions league football next week. Two goals from Gignac gave Marseille the 2-1 win in a game that was surprisingly one sided, in favour of OM.

After a lively opening 10 minutes with half chances for both sides it was Gignac who opened the scoring, excellently netting for his 12th of the season.

An excellent run from Jordan Ayew, brought him infield where he played in Valbuena. Gignac had already found some space on the right and as Valbuena played him in, and Gignac cut inside onto his left foot and curled the ball into the far post past Landreau. The goal was typical, trademark Gignac, hanging on the line of the last defender in an off-centre position before cutting inside and shooting.

Immediately after the goal Marseille, perhaps uncharacteristicly, threatened a number of times, firstly Gignac was flagged offside when one-on-one with Landreau, before a Lucas Mendes header connected with the cross bar.

For the remainder of the half Bastia failed to threaten Mandanda’s clean sheet streak, with only a poor header from ex-OM man Maoulida and a speculative volley from Modeste coming close. The game should have been well beyond Bastia by half time though, as Gignac still had time to fire a volley of the bar before half time.

Immediately after half time it looked like Marseille might live to regret those missed opportunities as Bastia equalised within 50 seconds. Mandanda was beaten by Thauvin after breaking through the middle and unleashing a superb strike from 25 yards that just evaded the hands of Mandanda as it flew into the far corner. As good as the goal was to end Mandanda’s clean sheet streak, which lasted almost 700 minutes, questions have to be asked of Mendes who backed off and Romao who looked rather sluggish when tracking back.

After yet more wasted chances from Amalfitano, who shot straight at Landreau from close-range, and Jordan Ayew who couldn’t direct a header on target, Marseille were nearly punished again. Former player Maoulida had the ball past Mandanda, only to have his goal correctly ruled out for offside.

The introduction of Sogou for Amalfitano gave OM a little more pace in attack. He almost netted within minutes as Valbuena played him through, and although his shot had the beating of Landreau, Palmeieri managed to get in the way to divert the ball for a corner.

With Bastia looking to play out for a draw and happy to run down the clock, Gignac struck again with another excellent goal. As OM broke down field following a Bastia corner, Valbuena picked out Gignac on the right wing. As Gignac powered into the box and past the covering Palmeieri he struck a well-placed shot into the far corner past Landreau, to score his 13th of the season.

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The win means that Marseille are guaranteed to finish next weekend in 2nd place and only need 2 more points 2 guarentee finishing ahead of Saint-Etienne. The win was even sweeter as it meant psg couldn’t win the ligue title at home this weekend and came with 3 major changes to the starting 11. Elie Baup should have a full choice squad available for the visit of Toulouse next week, and Gignac will hope to continue his good form with a goal or two against his former club.

Man of the match – Valbuena. 2 assists from the little guy and a constant threat when on the ball. One of the most comfortable games he’s had in recent weeks, helping the team break by acting as an effective link between the defence and attack. Could also have assisted a few more goals if jAyew and Sougou had managed to convert their chances too.

Elie Baup: ‘We would have preferred not to have conceded early in the 2nd half, but we showed our intentions from the outset, creating a lot of scoring chances and the fans were treated to a good match. We have never spoken about the title as Paris have had it reserved for a very long time.’

Goals & highlights

Allez l’OM (Swanny @MarseilleUK & @Andrew_Js3)

 

 

The Furiani Disaster

The Furiani stadium disaster was one of the worst tragedies to occur in French football history, when a stand collapsed killing 18 people and leaving more than 2,300 injured. It happened on 5th May 1992 before the Coupe de France semi-final match between SC Bastia and Olympique de Marseille.

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At the time Bastia were in Ligue 2 and had made their way to the semi-finals by defeating Fesches le Chatel (1-0), Toulouse (2-0), OGC Nice (1-0) in the round of 16, and then beating AS Nancy on penalties in the quarter finals. Marseille had won Ligue 1 the previous season and were undoubtedly the ‘giant’ team that every team wanted to face, so after their defeats of Bordeaux (1-0), FC Istres (2-1), Valenciennes (2-0) and SM Caen (3-1) the semi-final tie was set up between Bastia and Marseille. Many of the Marseille players were part of the team that went on to win the Champions League the following season including, Abedi Pele, Didier Deschamps, Basile Boli, Marcel Desailly as well as OM heroes Jean-Pierre Papin and Chris Waddle.

To help ensure an even more hostile reception for France’s biggest team, Bastia’s club board decided to erect a temporary terrace in place of one of the old stands. The Tribune Claude Papi, could only hold 750 fans, whereas the temporary tribune would allow almost 10,000 fans in.

Bastia had already used temporary stands for their ¼ final victory over Nancy, but they wanted more for this game and they wanted bigger. Because of the short time between the Nancy game and the semi-final with Marseille, there wasn’t sufficient time to apply for the demolition of the Tribune Claude Papi, so it was arranged for the company of ex-Bastia President to demolish the stand secretly during the night.

The first company contacted to build the new temporary stand, pulled out stating they wouldn’t have enough time to complete the work, so a second company took the contract. To make work even more difficult a strike at the Port of Marseille meant that the delivery of some of the building materials was impossible. It was reported that the French Football Federation (FFF) refused to postpone the match, and so the building company sourced materials from within Corsica.

Work was still being completed on the new stand on the day of the game as the fire department deemed the stand to be insufficiently safe after an inspection.

It has since been reported that up to an hour before the game concerns were raised about the stability of the stand as supporters could feel it ‘rocking’, however, no action was taken as more supporters continued to arrive. During this time engineers were still tightening bolts and trying to repair minor defects at the base of the stand. However, at 8:20pm, just as the players were entering the pitch, the whole rear of the structure collapsed leaving thousands of fans, stewards and media representatives trapped or crushed in the wreckage.

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In the immediate aftermath, those injured or dying were helped onto the pitch as other fans, officials and even players tried to help, treat and comfort those affected.

Many of those injured were eventually transferred from Corsica to Nice and Marseille on mainland France, and after much deliberation the French Football Federation decided to cancel the Coupe de France final. After an initial short investigation, it had been decided that a number of rules had been broken in the lead up to the Furiani disaster, particularly around the actual construction of the terrace. Many football fans and relatives of those who were injured or died still feel that justice has not been done, as those trialled and found guilty a year after the disaster, were all given what were perceived as negligible fines and minimal sentences of less than 2 years.

The disaster did lead to a review and change in the rules and safety in ground construction, particularly around the use of temporary structures. Both sets of supporters and teams usually mark each game with a sign of respect for those who lost their lives or were injured on 5th May ’92, including banners with messages from the ultra groups, many of whom call for no games to be played on the anniversary of this tragic event.

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The Furiani 18:

Angelini Antoine

Brunel Guy

Campana Marie-Pierre (nee Clement)

Casta Andre

Drillaud Alexandra

Dumas Jean-Baptiste

Geronimi Antoine

Giampietri Thierry

Giannoni Dominique

Grimaldi Santa

Guidicelli Pierre-Jean

Lallait Cedric

Marsicano Lucien

Mattei Christian

Mortier Michel

Ottaviani Marie-Laure (nee Guerrieri)

Roa Patrick

Vivarelli Michel

As many have said about disasters, no one should ever go to a football game and never return. To those who didn’t return; Rest In Peace.

(Thanks to thestadiumguide.com Erik Terpstra OM.net & corsefootball.fr)