Paris Saint-Germain must now be considered favourites to win a third consecutive Ligue 1 title after coming from behind to beat fierce enemies 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 favour.
Marquinhos equalised and then Jeremy Morel’s own goal in the 51st minute allowed PSG to claim a seventh consecutive victory against OM in all competitions as Laurent Blanc’s side moved back to the top of the table, a point above Lyon.
“Unfortunately tonight (Sunday), we lost two players which is worrying for the upcoming matches,” Matuidi told Canal Plus tv in reference to injuries picked up by David Luiz and Thiago Motta.
“Overall, we played a great match but 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,” added Matuidi with PSG in the hunt for the league title, Champions League, French Cup and League Cup.
PSG coach Laurent Blanc was happy with the win but disappointed with the injuries.
“We’ll savour 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,” said the former Bordeaux and France coach.
“To have won is a very, very good job done tonight (Sunday). (Blaise) Matuidi was amazing with his physical game and he worked hard this week to try and score a goal because we were winding him up a bit.
“He hasn’t had much success in front of goal,” added the former Marseille defender.
Marseille are now five points off top spot 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 final Champions League qualifying berth, with fourth-placed Monaco only three points behind with a game in hand.
There was an intimidating environment for Paris, whose team bus was struck by missiles — including a golf ball that smashed a window — en route to the ground.
– Gignac double –
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 team-mate’s cross at the back post.
When Paris lost David Luiz to a hamstring injury, it looked like it would not be their night, but Matuidi silenced the Velodrome in the 35th minute with a magnificent curling strike into the far top corner of the net on 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 half-time whistle as though they had won the game.
But 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 box and broke to the Brazilian defender.
And two minutes after that they scored again, Morel turning a Pastore ball from the left into his own net under pressure from Ibrahimovic.
They are in pole position with seven games of the season remaining, although they saw Thiago Motta limp off injured late on and Lyon remain very much in contention after winning 3-1 at Guingamp on Saturday.
Monaco came from behind to draw 1-1 with Saint-Etienne on Friday, and while they have a game in hand to play against Montpellier on Tuesday, their sole focus now is on securing a top-three finish.
Elsewhere on Sunday, an injury-time goal by substitute Nicolas Maurice-Belay gave Bordeaux a 2-1 home victory against relegation-threatened Lens.
Mariano had given Bordeaux the lead only for Pablo Chavarria to equalise for the visitors, who are bottom.
Caen moved six points clear of the relegation zone after coming from behind to win 2-1 at Nantes.
Alejandro Bedoya put the Canaries ahead early on but Emiliano Sala levelled with a penalty 10 minutes from time and a Thomas Lemar free-kick evaded everyone to end up in the net in stoppage time as the Normandy side claimed a first win in four. – Agence France-Presse