Marseille rebound from Nice mayhem as Messi set for French bow
Paris: Marseille bounced back from the violent mayhem of their last Ligue 1 encounter to defeat Saint-Etienne 3-1 on Saturday as Lionel Messi prepared to make his Paris Saint-Germain debut. On loan from Arsenal, Matteo Guendouzi, in the 23rd minute, and former Flamengo player Gerson, on 51 minutes, scored their first goals for Marseille. Turkish star Cengiz Under, another summer recruit on loan from Roma, added a third in the 68th minute. Timothee Kolodziejczak had earlier given Saint-Etienne hope with a 32nd-minute equaliser from a corner. Last weekend, Marseille’s game at southern neighbours Nice was abandoned after a pitch invasion involving home fans incensed that Dimitri Payet had a thrown a bottle lobbed at him back into the crowd. After scuffles involving players, staff and spectators, Marseille refused to continue the game, claiming their safety could not be guaranteed. Payet was instrumental in Saturday’s opening goal at the Stade Velodrome as his telling pass opened up space for Under. His cross found Konrad de la Fuente whose strike was blocked, but Guendouzi was on hand to follow up and score. “We could have scored one more goal,” said Marseille coach Jorge Sampaoli. “The supporters were with the team, they returned home happy. What the team has shown is that they can win or lose but they will always attack with determination.” Justin Kluivert scored his first Nice goal and set up another in a 4-0 thrashing of Bordeaux. The match at the Allianz Riviera was played behind closed doors after last week’s horror show with Marseille. “It was a good birthday present even if the week was very difficult,” Nice coach Christophe Galtier told Prime Video after turning 55 on Monday, less than 24 hours after the match with Marseille was abandoned. – AFP