Marseille have booked their place in the Coupe de France quarter-finals by beating arch-rivals Paris Saint-Germain at the Stade Vélodrome in a tense Classique.
Ruslan Malinovskyi scored the winning goal on the half-hour mark. The Igor Tudor-led side came out of the blocks fiercely with their habitual aggression and intensity, enjoying possession and control in PSG’s half. However, the first goalscoring opportunity fell to Nuno Mendes. Played on by a slick through-ball from Neymar, the Portuguese was denied by Pau Lopez. Cengiz Ünder replied with a nice curler, thwarted by Gianluigi Donnarumma. In this highly entertaining Classique, Les Phocéens were much more enterprising and going forward than a struggling PSG side that mostly relied on counter-attacking play.
The hosts were rewarded on the half-hour mark. Ünder bamboozled Sergio Ramos down the right side, entered the penalty box and fell as Ramos clumsily initiated contact. M. Letexier pointed to the spot and Alexis Sanchez coolly wrong-footed Donnarumma. Les Parisiens grew into the game as Marseille loosened their grip. Neymar hit one from outside the box and found the post. In the final play of the first half, the Brazilian perfectly laid a corner kick onto the head of Ramos, who made no mistake with the finish.
Rhythm decreased in the second half as PSG tried to make their way in OM’s half. But Les Parisiens were punished by their passiveness. They made a hash of a defensive throw-in, allowing Ruslan Malinovskyi to make the Vélodrome erupt with a screamer of a half-volley. Christophe Galtier rang the changes with Warren Zaïre-Emery, Hugo Ekitike and Carlos Soler all thrown into action but PSG never seemed to exert control in the game. A late siege of Marseille’s penalty box was in vain. Marseille came out as deserving winners of this thrilling Classique. Les Parisiens crash out of the Coupe de France and there won’t be time to rest. Monaco and Bayern Munich are next, and Kylian Mbappe will still be sorely missed.
Marseille players ratings:
Pau Lopez, 6
Sead Kolasinac, 6
Chancel Mbemba, 7- Tireless in his interventions, he never shied away from a duel and his distribution has been vital for OM. Heavily involved in the second goal as well.
Valentin Rongier, 8 – In a centre-back role almost unknown to him, the skipper brilliantly held his own against Neymar and Messi. Some food for thought for Igor Tudor.
Samuel Gigot, 5 – The centre-back made a big mistake in letting Ramos roam free just before half-time.
Jonathan Clauss, 5
Cengiz Ünder, 6 – A key player tonight. The former Leicester winger was a constant threat for PSG’s backline. Exhausted and replaced by Azzedine Ounahi.
Jordan Veretout, 5
Mattéo Guendouzi, 7 – The former Arsenal man was a complete powerhouse in midfield, breaking PSG lines in his stride and closing their passing lanes.
Ruslan Malinovskyi, 6 – The Ukrainian international was a hard man to find and his decision-making was poor in the first half. He made up for it by hammering home to give the lead back to Marseille. His second goal in back-to-back games.
Alexis Sanchez, 6 – The Chilean forward gave a hard time to the PSG defense with his aggression and pace. Kept his cool to open the scoring from the spot.
PSG players ratings
Gianluigi Donnarumma, 5 – Came up big twice to deny Ünder and a calming presence all around. Nothing he could really do for Malinovskyi goal as he was blinded by his teammates.
Achraf Hakimi, 3 – He could have conceded a penalty for a handball in the third minute and gave away needless fouls. He looked a bit out of sorts with Marseille’s non-stop press. Not as inspired as he has been of late.
Sergio Ramos, 4 – From zero to hero in a single half. He redeemed itself after his barge on Ünder in the box with a well-taken header to equalise.
Nuno Mendes, 4
Marco Verratti, 4
Danilo Pereira, 6 – The Portuguese international, as ever, constantly made himself available to offer a solution to his teammates and rarely lost possession. The fact he was the first PSG midfielder to be replaced is baffling.
Fabian Ruiz, 3 – Another underwhelming display from the Spaniard. Dispossessed too many times and failing to prove an effective outlet in PSG’s attacking phases. How was he allowed to play the full game?
Lionel Messi, 4 – A subdued effort from the Argentine, who came close to the top corner with a trademark free-kick. He should have done better when Neymar laid it on a plate for him outside the box ten minutes from time.
Neymar, – 5 The Brazilian returned in the starting line-up and played a part in every goalscoring opportunity from Les Parisiens. Appeared increasingly frustrated as the game went on.
GFFN | Bastien Cheval