PSG beat rivals Marseille to close gap at top

Paris Saint-Germain defeated arch rivals Marseille 2-0 at the Parc des Princes on Sunday to blow the Ligue 1 title race wide open. Here's a round-up of the weekend's action from Ligue 1, which also saw another win for Lyon.

PSG beat rivals Marseille to close gap at top
PSG's players celebrate after winning the "Clasique" grudge match gainst Marseille in Paris. Photo: Franck FIfe/AFP

The two-time defending champions dominated their visitors from the south in an intense encounter and wrapped up three crucial points thanks to an opportunist strike from Brazilian Lucas Moura and a close-range header from Edinson Cavani.

PSG are now just one point behind Marseille as their unbeaten start to the season, in all competitions, continued in the biggest fixture in French football.

Lyon, who won their fifth straight match earlier in the day when they downed Guingamp 3-1 at the Stade Gerland, are also breathing down the necks of Marseille and stand two points adrift.

The match in the capital struggled to burst into life despite the return of PSG's Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic who came on with 24 minutes left for his first action since September 21.

Marseille coach Marcelo Bielsa looked on in shock with the match 1-0 as his side's chances of an equaliser took a severe turn for the worse with 12 minutes left when Giannelli Imbula was shown a straight red card for what appeared to be a minor offence.

Cavani capped a convincing performance for PSG with a poacher's header from just outside the six-yard box with five minutes remaining that capped a perfect week for the capital club who also booked their place in the Champions League knockout phase.

"We played with a lot of intensity and it's a great victory which counts a lot for us," said PSG defender Maxwell.

"Zlatan played well when he came on and he gives us a different dimension. He's a very important player for us so it's good for him that's he's back but we're all looking forward to some rest now," added the 33-year-old Brazilian ahead of the international break.

Bielsa admitted the red card changed the momentum of the match.

"I think the result was justified," said Bielsa.

"We were on top for a while in the first half even if it was 1-0 for them and the second half was balanced until the red card which allowed PSG to get on top.

"There are six more matches left in the first half of the season and we have to get back to positive results in order to justify our position at the top."

Monaco hold on

Monaco held on for a 1-1 draw at Saint-Etienne despite finishing the match with ten men in a stormy encounter at the Geoffroy Guichard stadium.

Reims extended their unbeaten run to five matches with a 2-0 victory over Lille, who now haven't won in the league in five outings.

Alexandre Lacazette went top of the Ligue 1 scoring charts with 11 goals as he opened the scoring for Lyon in the eighth minute with a back post header from Nabil Fekir's cross.

Fekir doubled the lead on 20 minutes after converting on the slide a low cross from Christophe Jallet.

At that point Lyon seemed in cruise control but they needed Fekir's second goal, three minutes from time, to finally steady their nerves.

The Cup holders pulled a goal back on the stroke of halftime as Sylvain Marveaux's free-kick came back off the bar and hit Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes before going in.

Under steady rain at Saint-Etienne, Lacina Traore saw his shot deflected past Stephane Ruffier to put Monaco 1-0 in front after just 17 minutes.

However Saint-Etienne, were handed the first of two dubious decisions on 58 minutes, when Dutchman Ricky van Wolfswinkel was allowed to run clear despite being blatantly offside and he gratefully tucked away the equaliser.

Monaco suffered more bad fortune when they were reduced to ten men with 19 minutes left when Tiemoue Bakayoko was shown a second yellow card for a light brush against a Saint-Etienne player that even had the home players appealing to the referee for leniency.

"We didn't create a lot of chances and we were lucky enough to take the lead but we weren't able to protect the advantage," said Monaco playmaker Jeremy Toulalan.

"We've being playing some good matches and we might have lost this one a while ago but it's a good draw and now we just have to push on and hope for better results."

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IN PICTURES: How floods and a bin strike left Marseille submerged in waste

Torrential rain hit the city of Marseille in the south of France on Sunday and Monday, just days after local waste collectors ended a week-long strike, leading to fears of "catastrophic" waste making its way to the ocean.

IN PICTURES: How floods and a bin strike left Marseille submerged in waste
A man stands on a beach covered with cans following heavy rains and a strike of waste collectors in Marseille on October 5th. Photo: Nicolas TUCAT / AFP.

Marseille is located in the Bouches-du-Rhône département, which Météo France placed on red alert for heavy rain and flooding on Monday. Schools in the area shut and people were warned not to leave their homes as two months’ worth of rain fell in a single day in the Mediterranean city, after heavy rains had already caused flooding on Sunday night.

The situation was compounded by the fact that uncollected garbage was blocking storm drains in certain parts of the city – drains which would normally be cleared ahead of heavy rain – and making it more difficult for emergency services to intervene.

The city’s waste collectors had begun clearing the streets on Saturday after an agreement between unions and local authorities put an end to an eight-day strike over an increase to working hours.

But rain over the weekend made the monumental job even more difficult, and the result was that “rivers of rubbish” flowed through the city’s streets on Monday.

“Rubbish is everywhere. It’s a catastrophe,” biologist Isabelle Poitou, director of the MerTerre association, told AFP. “We’re expecting a strong mistral wind which will push the rubbish, which is currently making its way towards the sea, onto the beaches.”

“It’s vital to come and clear the rubbish from the beaches on Tuesday or Wednesday,” she added. “We need to act before the rubbish gets scattered in the sea at the first gust of wind.”

A woman collects waste on a beach after heavy rains and following a strike of waste collectors in Marseille.

A woman collects waste on a beach after heavy rains and following a strike of waste collectors in Marseille. Photo: Christophe SIMON / AFP.

The video below tweeted by BFMTV journalist Cédric Faiche shows the state of a beach in Marseille early on Tuesday morning. “It’s been cleaned several times but cans and different types of plastic continue to arrive…” Faiche wrote.

However, Faiche told BFM there are similar scenes every time there is heavy rain in Marseille, even if the strike has made the situation even worse.

Minister of the Sea Annick Girardin shared a video of the “sad scene” captured in Marseille on Sunday night. “Discussions between trade unions and the city must not make us forget what really matters: we are all responsible for our seas and our oceans!” she said.

“It’s unacceptable,” Christine Juste, deputy mayor in charge of the environment in Marseille told BFM on Tuesday, criticising the “lack of reactivity” in collecting leftover rubbish following the end of the strike on Friday.

“Why wait so long? In the 6th arrondissement, there has been no collection since the announcement that the strike was over,” she said.

IN PICTURES: See how the deluge has left parts of France’s Mediterranean coast submerged

The Aix-Marseille-Provence Metropolis intercommunal structure, rather than city hall, is in charge of rubbish collection in Marseille.

On Monday morning, the Metropolis dispatched 650 workers to clear away as much waste as possible ahead of the heaviest rainfall which was forecast for the afternoon.

On Monday evening, Marseille’s Mayor Benoît Payan told franceinfo that 3,000 tonnes of garbage were still yet to be collected in the city. “I asked the Prime Minister this evening to class the zone as a natural disaster,” he added.