Le Classique: Marseille and PSG Draw in Showdown of Ligue 1's Best

Christopher Almeras@@redriverhockeyCorrespondent IIOctober 8, 2012

Photo courtasy of http://om.pubfoot.com/
Photo courtasy of http://om.pubfoot.com/

This past weekend, soccer fans across Europe were treated to several marquee matchups in various domestic leagues.

France was no different, as Marseille and PSG renewed their rivalry with the top spot in Ligue 1 on the line.

While it is still early in the campaign, this game held significant ramifications to the Ligue 1 title race. 

Marseille entered the match with a three-point gap between them and PSG at the top. L’OM were looking to increase their lead with a win at home, while PSG was looking to take over the top spot on goal difference with a win.

With both teams combining to field a large portion of the best talent Ligue 1 has to offer, the game kicked off to high expectations.

Fortunately for fans, the game lived up to the pre-match hype.

Both teams came out playing an open-attacking style. The box-to-box play in the early stages was entertaining, and the Marseille crowd was in full effect from the beginning.

It was apparent from the initial exchanges that both defenses would be under pressure and the likelihood of a low scoring affair was scarce.

While both teams had some early chances that just missed in the final touch, the game did not have to wait long before a change to the scoreboard. Andre-Pierre Gignac opened the scoring with an 18th-minute strike, after freezing Christophe Jallet before firing home.

Gignac’s strike was a message that Zlatan Ibrahimovic answered five minutes later, when he beat N’Koulou to the spot with a wonderful finish of a PSG corner. Ibra wasted no time in taking the game by the neck when he plastered a free kick into the back of the net only two minutes later.

With Ibrahimovic continuing his fine scoring form, Marseille could have easily folded, as was the case at times last season.

This is a much different team in terms of make up and it showed, as Gignac leveled at 32 minutes off of a corner. His header past Sirigu brought the game back to life for Marseille.

The remainder of the first half saw missed chances for both squads.

The second half began the same way as the first half ended, as Kevin Gameiro (on for Javier Pastore) just missed putting PSG back in front. After that chance, the halftime adjustments reclaimed order, and chances were harder to come by.

PSG manager Carlo Ancelotti brought on Van der Wiel around the 75-minute mark in an effort to ensure a draw was the worst PSG would claim. Marseille manager Elie Baup went the other direction by bringing on Loic Remy to replace Gignac, who received a well-deserved ovation from the fans.

While the second half was more subdued, the 2 – 2 result was highly entertaining and a showcase for what Ligue 1 has to offer. Both PSG and Marseille are sure to be disappointed in missed opportunities, but the game showed that PSG will not have a red carpet walk to the title.

If they want it they will have to earn it.