PARIS: Olympique Marseille earned a smash-and-grab 1-0 win at Ligue 1 champions Paris St Germain after forward Florian Thauvin struck in the 31st minute of a pulsating though ill-tempered match at the Parc des Princes on Sunday.
Littered with fouls throughout, the clash boiled over in the last minute of stoppage time with referee Jerome Brisard sending off five players after a full scale brawl broke out on the pitch.
Paris Saint Germain’s Neymar, Laywin Kurzawa and Leandro Paredes as well as Marseille’s duo of Dario Benedetto and Jordan Amavi were given their marching orders after rival players threw punches and kicks at each other.
But it did not bother Marseille manager Andre Villas-Boas after the 1993 European Cup winners celebrated their first league win against PSG since November 2011.
“A tough and important win as well as a historic one,” Villas-Boas told reporters after his side condemned last season’s Champions League runners-up to a second successive defeat following a 1-0 opening day setback at Lens.
“We struggled to cope with PSG’s early pressure because they are very good at it, but we found a way to grind out a great victory. It wasn’t pretty and we suffered.”
Thauvin scored against the run of play, steering in a Dimitri Payet free kick inside the near post from close range after the home side had come close through Marco Verratti and Neymar, who also missed a pair of chances in the second half.
Visiting keeper Steve Mandanda pulled off several superb saves before both sides had a goal disallowed for offside as the pace and intensity went up a gear after the break.
Angel Di Maria’s effort for PSG was ruled out in the 62nd minute and Benedetto’s scorcher was also scrapped two minutes later as Thauvin, who unleashed the initial shot, was marginally behind the last PSG defender.
Missing several first-team regulars who had contracted the COVID-19 virus, PSG pressed hard in the closing stages but Marseille’s rugged defence held firm.
PSG sports director Leonardo, a former World Cup winner with Brazil, criticised the referee’s actions.
“A total of 14 cards were brandished and five of them were red, which means the match got out of control,” Leonardo told the Telefoot television channel.
“(Brisard) lost his head. He officiated the League Cup final but he doesn’t have the experience for this kind of fixture.”