Crowd trouble mars Lyon Marseille clash in Ligue 1

Sunday night's clash between Marseille and Lyon had to be stopped for twenty minutes after home fans hurled missiles on to the pitch. Here's a look at the weekend's talking points.

Crowd trouble mars Lyon Marseille clash in Ligue 1
Riot police intervene after fans throw missiles on to the pitch. Photo: AFP

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas insisted early Monday that the toxic Ligue 1 clash between his side and Marseille should not have been restarted after a 20-minute stoppage caused by missile-throwing fans.

With just over an hour gone at Marseille's Stade Velodrome ground, officials instructed both teams to return to the dressing rooms as objects, including bottles and cups, rained down from the stands as Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes was trying to take a goal-kick.

The return of Lyon's Mathieu Valbuena to face his former club had already made for a charged atmosphere with the France international, roundly booed throughout, already the target of missiles when taking corners.

Lyon were leading 1-0 through a first-half penalty from Alexandre Lacazette when play was interrupted. But on the resumption, Marseille equalised to rescue a point.

“The best decision would have been not to restart the game,” said Aulas, who believes such a decision would have prompted Marseille to rein in their notoriously unruly hardline fans.

“It was a very disagreeable atmosphere. I have been in football for 28 years but never have I seen the things like tonight. What happened to Valbuena was a vendetta, his physical safety was put in danger.”

Marseille president Vincent Labrune tried to play down the trouble.

“The club will take its responsibility for the two or three bottles of beer that were thrown on the pitch. But we all have to be sensible. Me, I will accept my responsibilities as president and I want others to do the same — from the federation, the referees' body and Lyon,” he said.

Lacazette, scorer of a club-record 27 goals last season on his way to winning Ligue 1's Player of the Year award, converted a contentious first-half penalty to atone for his midweek miss in the Champions League.

But Marseille, despite seeing Romain Alessandrini sent off just before half-time, rescued a point after the interruption courtesy of Karim Rekik's first goal in French football.

Valbuena targeted

Valbuena was returning to the Stade Velodrome where he starred for Marseille until leaving for Dynamo Moscow last year before signing with Lyon in August.

The Lyon playmaker brushed off the jeers and missiles from the crowd as well as a series of heavy challenges and played a key role in the visitors taking a 25th-minute lead.

Valbuena threaded a pass through to Lacazette who then went down following minimal contact with Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda before calmly tucking away the resulting spot-kick.

Lacazette had seen his late penalty saved in Wednesday's 1-1 draw against nine-man Gent in Belgium but held his nerve on Sunday to end his early-season drought.

Lacazette should have added to his tally a few minutes later when he timed a run in behind the Marseille defence to perfection only for his shot to crash back off the upright with Mandanda well beaten.

Marseille were reduced to 10 men just before half-time with Alessandrini dismissed for a crude challenge on Valbuena.

Earlier, Saint-Etienne recorded a fourth successive league win, 2-0 against Nantes, to move to within a point of leaders Paris Saint-Germain.

Les Verts took a first-half lead at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard through a first Ligue 1 goal from teenager Jonathan Bamba.

Slovenian international Robert Beric, who arrived from Rapid Vienna last month, then added the second just after half-time to seal victory for Christophe Galtier's side.

Monaco's indifferent start to the season continued as the principality side found themselves two goals down to Lorient inside 20 minutes.

Didier Ndong hammered a long-range thunderbolt beyond Monaco goalkeeper Danijel Subasic before Benjamin Jeannot added a second for the visitors.

Almamy Toure pulled one back for Monaco shortly after and the hosts were back on level terms when Thomas Lemar equalised just after the interval but substitute Benjamin Moukandjo's 59th-minute strike won it for Lorient.

On Saturday, Edinson Cavani kept Paris Saint-Germain's unbeaten start to the season intact as he equalised late on at Reims in a 1-1 draw.

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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.