MAR­SEILLE HOLD PSG IN DRAB ‘CLAS­SIQUE’

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

There was noth­ing “Clas­sique” about it as Paris Saint-Ger­main and bit­ter ri­vals Mar­seille con­jured up an unin­spir­ing 0-0 draw in re­lent­less rain in the French cap­i­tal yes­ter­day. Billed as the Ligue 1 clash to ri­val Spain’s El Cla­sico, this was a poor ad­vert for French foot­ball and did lit­tle to dis­pel the im­pres­sion that reign­ing cham­pi­ons PSG are strug­gling to get to grips with coach Unai Emery’s meth­ods. Mis­fir­ing PSG striker Edin­son Ca­vani had an evening to for­get and the damp stale­mate leaves his side in third, two points be­hind Monaco and six in­fe­rior to sur­prise lead­ers Nice, who won again de­spite miss­ing the in­jured Mario Balotelli. Alas­sane Plea grabbed a hat­trick as Ligue 1 lead­ers Nice con­tin­ued their ter­rific start to the sea­son with a thrilling 4-2 vic­tory at pro­moted Metz. With Balotelli out with a thigh in­jury, Plea as­sumed the lead role for Lu­cien Favre’s un­beaten side and net­ted the opener on 12 min­utes be­fore adding a sec­ond from the penalty spot af­ter Ge­orges Mand­jeck had equalised. Sub­sti­tute Habib Diallo made it 2-2 mid­way through the sec­ond half for Metz but Plea struck for a third time on 84 min­utes be­fore Wy­lan Cy­prien wrapped up the points in in­jury time. “It’s a de­served win even if it was very tough. We played well,” said Favre. “The play­ers’ re­ac­tion was very good af­ter they equalised for two-all. We’re in­cred­i­bly happy to still be un­de­feated but we have to keep on work­ing.” Ear­lier, on-loan duo Henri Saivet and Jor­dan Veretout scored their first Saint-Eti­enne goals since re­turn­ing to France from New­cas­tle United and As­ton Villa re­spec­tively in a 2-0 win away to Caen. Monaco re­claimed sec­ond place on Fri­day from PSG with a 6-2 de­mo­li­tion of Mont­pel­lier at the Stade Louis II.

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