Marseille Spoil Nice’s Day

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar August 29, 2019 16:13

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Marseille Spoil Nice’s Day

By Satish Sekar at the Allianz Riviera © Satish Sekar (August 28th 2019)

Fighting Spirit

75 years ago, today, the people of Nice, fed up of waiting for Allied troops to arrive, took matters into their hands and forced the Nazis to leave. The Allies arrived two days later to find the brave Nicois had done the job for them.

Tonight, OGC Nice not only failed to channel that spirit, but play was even stopped for more than ten minutes until homophobic banners were removed.

Homophobic Banners Stop Play

Referee Clément Turpin took the players off after attempts to get the banners removed and stop offensive chants failed.

Appeals over the loud speaker and directly from Nice players had no effect. The referee met both managers during the break.

“Maybe he should have given more time to the supporters to take away those banners, but he explained to me that he didn’t really have a choice, which is something I understand,” Nice’s manager, Patrick Vieira explained.

“I think he made the right call.”

One of the banners referred to new billionaire owner, Jim Ratcliffe’s ownership of cycling team INEOS. In French the word pédale refers to a pedal on a bicycle, but is also a derogatory term for gay people.

Common Sense

The mangers supported the action, but Nice’s Wylan Cyprien was less enthusiastic over the new policy.

“We’re not going to stop the game each time some morons do something,” he told Canal+. “I’m against all forms of discrimination, homophobia or racism, but you shouldn’t stop the match for so little. It’s ridiculous.”

The Ligue 2 match between Nancy and Le Mans on August 16th was stopped briefly and there were incidents at Brest’s 1-0 victory over Reims on August 24th, and at the 2-2 draw between Monaco and Nîmes in Monaco’s Stade Louis II.

Action?

André Villas-Boas called for action to be taken, and praised the reaction of Dmitri Payet to bottles being thrown at him in added time at the end of the match.

“Yes I think the referee made the right call after seeing the banners during the match,” Villas-Boas said.

“It was a very good decision.

“I went with Patrick to the referees’ locker room when the referee interrupted the game. We spoke about the decision.

Nice supporters put away the banners and it all ended with that.”

It’s likely that the French Football federation will take action over these incidents.

Villas-Boas added a practical solution.

“You can sort these things out through education, but it’s up to the League, now to issue sanctions. I don’t want to dwell too much into this.”

Disturbance

Although, Vieira, did not make excuses for the loss, it cannot be coincidence that the vital first goal was conceded just after the resumption of play. Former Boca Juniors striker, Dario Benedetto scored to Walter Benítez’ left from just inside the area.

Nice had the better of the match before the interruption. They fought back to equalise from the penalty spot after Jordan Amavi was judged to have impeded Ignatius Kpene Ganago. Cyprien converted the penalty, but seven minutes later Dmitri Payet restored Marseille’s lead, also from the spot, after Andy Pelmard’s clumsy challenge brought down substitute Valère Germain.

Marseille held on as Turpin waved away a penalty appeal by Nice – the second he had refused.

Vieira said that he had not seen the second incident as he was too far away, and that referees’ decisions and VAR had to be trusted.

During the 5 minutes of added time Payet was pelted with plastic bottles, preventing him taking a corner.

Villas-Boas praised Payet for his reaction. It’s Marseille’s first win under Villas-Boas, and Vieira’s first loss of the new Ligue Un season.

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar August 29, 2019 16:13