Ten-man PSG wins 2-0 at Marseille to keep 12-point lead in French league, Brest moves back into 2nd

by 24USATVApril 1, 2024, 6:40 a.m. 22
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PARIS (AP) — Leader Paris Saint-Germain gave Marseille a lesson in clinical soccer and beat its bitter rival 2-0 in the French league’s “Le Classique” on Sunday despite playing with 10 men for more than half the match.

PSG goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma made several big saves after the interval when Marseille forwards tried their best to make the most of Lucas Beraldo’s red card in the 39th minute.

PSG, which kept its 12-point lead at the top of the standings, had just three shots on target but scored twice on the break with second-half goals from Vitinha and Gonçalo Ramos.

Looking for a first league win at home against PSG in more than 12 years, Marseille controlled early proceedings and bossed the midfield against a wasteful PSG. The hosts came close to taking the lead when Jordan Veretout hit the post and had the best chances.

PSG had a couple of opportunities before the interval, with Fabian Ruiz and Ousmane Dembelé missing the target.

Tempers frayed after Beraldo, who had already been booked, got a red card for a last-man challenge close to the halfway line following a VAR review, which left PSG players fuming.

PSG struck on the break in the 52nd minute after Vitinha found Dembelé down the right. The former Barcelona player crossed the ball back for the Portugal midfielder, who beat goalkeeper Pau Lopez with a precise shot to the bottom left corner.

In heavy rain, Marseille camped in PSG’s half looking for an equalizer. Veretout thought he had put the teams level in the 58th minute but his goal was disallowed for an offside position.

Marseille did not give up with forwards Faris Moumbagna and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang forcing saves from Donnarumma. However, Ramos sealed PSG’s win with five minutes left, assisted by Marco Asensio following a fast counterattack.

The fixture between PSG and Marseille became popular during the 1990s when the arrival of prominent players such as Rudi Voeller and George Weah ignited the rivalry. Marseille, the only French team to win the Champions League back in 1993, has fallen well behind since PSG was taken over by Qatari investors in 2011, but the game continues to stir up passion.

Forward Romain Del Castillo scored a late goal as Brest moved back into second place and stayed on course for a Champions League spot with a 1-0 win at Lorient.

Brest, the surprise package of the French season, was battered for long spells and relied on goalkeeper Marco Bizot to stay in the game.

Del Castillo bagged the winner with five minutes left with a left-footed shot into the bottom left corner from Kamory Doumbia’s assist. It was his sixth goal of the season.

Bizot made a final decisive save in the 90th minute to deny Darlin Yongwa’s header from close range.

Brest finished the match with 10 men following midfielder Billal Brahimi’s straight red card in added time for a dangerous tackle from behind.

The result moved Brest back into second place, one point above Monaco, which had leapfrogged the Brittany side with a 5-2 thrashing of Metz on Saturday.

Nantes coach Antoine Kombouaré saw his team win 2-1 at Nice in his first match back in charge.

Kombouaré returned to Nantes earlier this month with the mission of avoiding relegation.

His first outing was a success as Nantes moved five points clear of the relegation zone. Matthis Abline ended a six-month scoring drought to put Nantes in the lead and Mostafa Mohamed scored the winner from the spot following Terem Moffi’s equalizer.

Kombouaré also had coaching stints with several other French clubs, including Paris Saint-Germain between 2009-11. Kombouaré was fired by PSG in December 2011 — following the takeover by the team’s Qatari owners earlier that year — and was replaced by Carlo Ancelotti.

Montpellier also claimed a crucial win in the battle against relegation, winning 2-0 at 15th-place Le Havre with goals from Jordan Ferri and Christopher Jullien. Montpellier was in 13th place, one point above Nantes. Clermont lost 3-0 to Toulouse and remained in last place.

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