Marseille 3-2 Nice: Nasser Larguet finally gets hosts back to winning ways after Andre Villas-Boas fallout as they secure bragging rights in the Mediterranean derby
Saif-Eddine Khaoui scored twice as Marseille beat Nice 3-2 at home Wednesday to snap a seven-game winless run and move up to sixth place in the French league.
Central defender Alvaro Gonzalez scored early in the first half and Khaoui added the second just before the break to put Marseille 2-0 up, both netting their first goals of the season.
But Nice showed just why it was unlucky to lose 2-1 at defending champion Paris Saint-Germain last weekend with a strong reaction.
Saif-Eddine Khaoui (R) celebrates scoring game-winning brace for Marseille as they beat Nice
Centre back Alvaro Gonzalez lashes the ball into net to give Marseille the lead in the first half
Alvaro celebrates with his Marseille team-mates after they got off to a quick start
Forward Amine Gouiri pulled a goal back one minute into the second half and, after Khaoui had made it 3-1 with a powerful strike from just inside the penalty area, Gouiri set up substitute Malik Sellouki in the 86th.
Then, in the fifth and final minute of injury time, the impressive Gouiri stuck a free kick which rattled the Marseille crossbar at an empty Stade Velodrome.
Despite two good performances, Nice finds themselves mired in 14th place and only seven points above the relegation zone after 25 of 38 matches.
Nice’s players celebrate after scoring their second goal on Wednesday but it was too late
Nice players look dejected as Khaoui finds the back of the net in Ligue 1 encounter
Nice forward Amine Gouiri celebrates after scoring their first goal of the game on Wednesday
With a congested schedule and the French league enduring financial difficulties, Marseille president Jacques-Henri Eyraud believes it is time to downsize the competition.
‘I do think playing in a 20-club league is no longer sustainable,’ Eyraud said Wednesday. ‘A lot of reforms need to be talked about.’
Eyraud is at the heart of those talks as one of the French league’s board of directors and a member of UEFA’s club competitions committee. UEFA is in the process of an overhaul of the Champions League that would add 100 more matches each season and potentially provide a fourth spot for French clubs.
The pandemic has already meant squeezing more games into a shorter period this season and the burden on teams would grow further with an expanded Champions League.
‘For Olympique Marseille, we have been playing a game every three days for four months and it will continue to be the case in February and March,’ Eyraud told the FT Business of Football Summit.
‘I think it is harmful for the players, it’s not good for the organization, I don’t think it’s good for the fans and I think it’s something we should be thinking about very seriously.’