Disaster Mars Holders’ Start As Minnows Foil Marseille
Paris. French champion Marseille slumped to a shock defeat to newcomer Caen, as Paris Saint Germain got off to a flying start to sit top of Ligue 1 after the first day of the season on Saturday.
Marseille landed its first title success since 1992. But Didier Deschamps’s side was reeling after falling 2-1 at home to the plucky Normandy side.
Lyon, last season’s runner-up, also failed to sparkle as it was held to a goalless draw at home to Monaco, as Auxerre, third last time out, was held to a 2-2 draw at home by Lorient.
By contrast Paris Saint Germain came through as a 3-1 winner against visiting St Etienne to give the side from the capital hope of success after a poor 2009-10 campaign.
Marseille was a shadow of the side that won the Ligue 1 last season, with Ligue 2 winner Caen looking the more dangerous attacking side as Nicolas Seube gave it the lead after 53 minutes at the Stade Velodrome.
Deschamps made two quick substitutions with Mamadou Samassa coming on for Andre Ayew and Hatem Ben Arfa replacing Mathieu Valbuena, and the strategy initially paid off with Samassa equalizing after 77 minutes.
But the points slipped through its fingers when Youssef El Arabi fired in through the legs of goalkeeper Steve Mandanda four minutes from time.
“Caen did what they had to do,” said Deschamps, whose pre-season preparations had been hampered by top scorer Mamadou Niang’s desire to leave for Fenerbahce.”
“We tried to prepare the best way, but a lot of the players are not at the same level. There are also things happening off the pitch, but this is not an excuse.”
PSG, 13th last season after going six matches without a win at the end of the campaign, achieved its first success in the opening match of the season since 2005.
The French Cup winners hit the ground running against St Etienne, who managed a 17th place finish last season.
Not even a half-empty stadium, rain and pre-match clashes between police and fans which resulted in 246 arrests could dampen Parisian spirits as Mevlut Erding netted the first goal of the season after just five minutes into the game.
The Turkish striker picked up a cross from Guillaume Hoarau to fire in between the legs of Jeremie Janot in the St Etienne goal.
St Etienne missed a chance to equalize after 25 minutes when Bakary Sako found himself alone in front of Gregory Coupet, but the PSG goalie proved to be up to the task.
Dimitri Payet grabbed the equalizer after 39 minutes, only for Stephane Sessegnon to put the hosts ahead again three minutes later with an acrobatic shot which hit the post before grazing Janot’s arm and then finishing in the back of the net.
The hosts dominated the second half with Brazilian striker Nene opening his account for PSG after 82 minutes.