Marseille end trophy wait
Marseille ended their long, 17-year wait for a major title by beating rivals Bordeaux 3-1 in a fiercely contested League Cup final at the Stade de France on Saturday.
All the goals came in the second half, with Souleymane Diawara - who left Bordeaux last summer - putting Marseille in front just after the hour and substitute Mathieu Valbuena firing in the second minutes later. Mathieu Chalme deflected an inswinging Valbuena free-kick past his own goalkeeper to make it 3-0 in the 77th minute before Ludovic Sane reduced the arrears with a header six minutes from time.
The result dashed Bordeaux's hopes of becoming the first side to successfully defend the trophy, while coach Laurent Blanc must hope morale has not been damaged ahead of Tuesday's Champions League clash at Lyon.
"We're all disappointed. We gave away the first goal and it wasn't good that we conceded a second so quickly," said Chalme. "But now we move on to another tournament which is very important in our eyes. Lyon are at our ground and we want to bounce back."
Reunited at the Stade de France for the first time since France's 1998 World Cup triumph, Didier Deschamps got the better of his old team-mate Blanc to restore glory to a club that he captained to their last piece of silverware in the 1992-93 Champions League.
"It's a huge joy for everyone, but particularly the players out on the pitch, it's their victory," said Deschamps. "For all the people who have followed Marseille over the years, and God knows there are many of them, it's also a great night. I'd also like to dedicate the win to Robert Louis-Dreyfus [Marseille's former owner who died last year] for all that he did for the club."
A slick playing surface and a raucous atmosphere had made for a first half more notable for full-blooded challenges than quality football. Sane was lucky to avoid a red card for a crude lunge on Lucho Gonzalez, who was also fouled by Alou Diarra, while Marseille forward Brandao picked up a caution for two heavy challenges on Chalme.
Marseille enjoyed the better chances as the half progressed, with Hatem Ben Arfa drawing a comfortable save from Bordeaux veteran Ulrich Rame after trying his luck from distance. Brandao came closest to breaking the deadlock before the interval when his placed effort was brilliantly touched wide by Rame, only for the referee to award a goal-kick.
The rough and tumble continued in the second period, with Stephane Mbia cautioned after catching Marouane Chamakh in the throat with his elbow. The breakthrough goal was in keeping with the game's physical nature, as Senegal international defender Diawara held off Diarra before planting a strong header past Rame from Lucho's right-wing corner.
Ben Arfa teed up Valbuena to drive home the second goal in the 67th minute and Blanc's immediate reaction, withdrawing stars Chamakh and Yoann Gourcuff, suggested his thoughts had already turned to next week's Champions League quarter-final first leg at Lyon.