Speaking after Marseille’s entertaining 4-1 win over Sporting Lisbon on Tuesday evening, manager Igor Tudor spoke highly of defender Leonardo Balerdi (23) who has been putting in some of his side’s most positive performances of late in the back three, as transcribed by L’Équipe.
“For the last three or four games, Balerdi has always been one of the best players on the pitch. His qualities are starting to emerge. He is a very good player, of a very, very high level. This victory gives us courage and confidence. It was long awaited. A victory in the Champions League has a special value. We played other great matches, like in Nice. What matters is to progress and that’s easier with victories. The return match will be different, away from home, with their fans. It will be very difficult.”
Marseille came out 4-1 winners over Sporting Lisbon in an eventful game which saw a goal in the first minute from Sporting through Trincão’s curled effort outside the box. There was a quick turnaround for OM, thanks in part to a string of calamitous errors from the Sporting keeper Antonio Adán – the first of which was a pass out from the back which rebounded comedically off Alexis Sánchez for Marseille’s first goal of their Champions League campaign. It was followed by another, as Jonathan Clauss whipped in a delightful ball for Amine Harit to head home. A third was added by Balerdi from a corner, as the icing was firmly placed on the cake through Mbemba’s finish in the second half to make it four for the Olympians – who win their first game in the Champions league for two years.