MARSEILLE HOLD PSG IN DRAB ‘CLASSIQUE’
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.