When Paris Saint-Germain and Olympique Marseille come together, the French football world comes to a halt. Little else matters when the Le Classique is in session.
The history of disdain between the clubs and the events from the pitch have made for compelling futbol and serious drama off of it. Unfortunately, this weekend’s edition of Le Classique failed to live up to the billing of France’s fiercest rivalry.
PSG showed why they have owned Ligue 1 over the last few years by humbling Marseille 5-1 at the Velodrome. For Paris, it was an important three points as they continue to try to chase down AS Monaco in the standings. For Marseille, it was bitter disappointment as they were handled by their rivals in humiliating fashion.
The boys from Paris came out on a mission as Marquinhos opened the scoring in the sixth minute. Edinson Cavani doubled the lead ten minutes later on an incredible feed by Javier Pastore.
Marseille were struggling to find themselves in the first half as the absence of Bafetimbi Gomis limited their attack. Dimitri Payet provided their best opportunity as his curling effort just missed, but that was as much as Marseille could provide in the opening frame.
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Defensively, Marseille was off-balance. Patrice Evra looked off the ace and unsure to the point of being replaced at the half.
The score line read 2-0 going into the half, even though PSG missed some chances to pile on. The second half was more of the same as Moura (50th min) and Draxler (61st min) found the net. Rod Fanni pulled back a consolation for OM in the 69th minute, but Blaise Matuidi finished a stint of possession with a bullet from the top of the box a few minutes later.
This Classique was a dose of reality for Marseille. With new ownership looking to get them bac to the top of Ligue 1, PSG showed how far L’OM still has to go. Their defense will need a major overhaul this summer. Goaltending will also be an area to look at upgrading even though Yohann Pele was not to blame for this debacle.
French futbol is in need of Le Classique’s influence in the standings. As demonstrated on Sunday, it will take time before it comes to pass. Let us hope for the sake of Marseille and Ligue 1 the time comes soon.