Unprofessional Foul


July 30, 2010

Marseille Take First Trophy of the Season

Superpower clubs facing off in the former colony.

Marseille and Paris Saint-Germain kicked off the Ligue 1 season in Tunisia with the 2010 Trophee des Champions.

L’OM, as winners of Ligue 1 last season, and PSG, as winners of the Coupe de France last season, played in only the second Trophee des Champions to be contested on foreign soil (last year’s edition was held in Montreal) at the Stade 7 Novembre in Rades.

With neither side having made any major squad changes during the transfer window, the big news was the presence of a player from each side. PSG brought a recently unretired Claude Makélélé (dammit! I was lied to about seeing his last match), while Marseille brought Hatem ben Arfa, whose father Kamel had played for the Tunisian national team.

Paris Saint-Germain had the better chances early, with Peggy Luyindula and Mevlut Erdinq marauding forward, but both were turned away several times by L’OM netminder (and MotM) Steve Mandanda. The latter had more of the work to do as Didier Deschamps had elected to leave Stephane Mbia and Gabriel Heinze back in France to continue recovering from their World Cup duties, while Souleymane Diawara went down with a thigh injury during the match (and is expected to miss 3 weeks). Marseille received a boost with the introduction of ben Arfa on the hour mark (to a roaring ovation), and play evened out somewhat. The final minutes of the match saw both sides with excellent chances, but things ended 0-0 and moved directly to PKs.

Seen in the video above, the first spot kick was from Peggy Luyindula, who saw his effort hit the post and bounce off Mandanda to safety. After successful attempts from Taye Taiwo (OM), Christophe Jallet (PSG), and Hatem ben Arfa (OM), and Nene (PSG), Lucho Gonzalez’ comic attempt at a “panenka” was easily stopped by PSG netminder Gregory Coupet to set things back to even. The sides then traded goals from Mateja Kežman (PSG), Charles Kaboré (OM), Claude Makélélé (PSG), and Guy Gnabouyou (OM). Then disaster struck for PSG as Ludovic Giuly (my favorite player from the side) had his PK turned away by a diving save from Mandanda. Édouard Cissé then stepped up and calmly slotted his attempt home, earning Olympique de Marseille their first-ever Trophee des Champions.

It’s a good start for the side as they look to defend their Ligue 1 title this season, and yet another disappointment for Paris Saint-Germain as they struggle to regain their place as a French club superpower.

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The NY Kid