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Tight security for French clasico
Published : 07 Oct 2012 03:47:50
Marseille and Paris Saint Germain clash on Sunday in the latest installment of French football's stormiest rivalry with security so tight that only 150 fans will travel from the capital to the Mediterranean coast.
Marseille go into the game at their Stade Velodrome home on top of the table with a three-point lead over PSG while Carlo Ancelotti's revamped PSG remain just one of three unbeaten teams in the league, along with Lorient and Bordeaux.
But the Champions League hopefuls came crashing down in midweek when they fell 1-0 to a late Porto strike for their first defeat of the campaign and Ancelotti must now rally his troops against Elie Baup's resilient Marseille.
"We are not yet ready as a team which is normal and we need time and experience to deal with the big matches," said the 53-year-old Italian.
PSG had won their previous five matches in all competitions and seemed to be building up a head of steam heading into the hostile atmosphere of Marseille's home ground, but even star signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic admits he is not at the top of his game.
"Personally I could have done a lot more to help my team get a result (against Porto) but I am not yet at the level where I would like to be," said the Swedish captain, who can point to seven goals in six league matches in the face of criticism.
Baup saw his team taken apart 4-1 in their last league outing away to Valenciennes but fielded a weakened line-up, including former English rebel Joey Barton who made his home debut, during Thursday's Europa League match against Cypriot upstarts AEL Limassol.
It remains to be seen whether Barton wil feature on Sunday, but the home supporters have already taken the veteran and on-loan QPR midfielder to their healrts which was evident in a banner held aloft by fans during a recent home match that read: "Welcome, sweet and tender hooligan".
Seven-time champions Lyon come into their tie against surprise packages Lorient in third spot and four points off the lead, but will need to be on top of their game to halt the Britanny club's seven-match unbeaten start to the season.
Fourth-placed Bordeaux face a short turnaround as they travel back from Newcastle following their Europa League tie against Alan Pardew's men on Thursday and a Sunday afternoon match in Brest.
In the only weekend fixture played on Friday, Saint Etienne beat Nancy, 4-0.
On Saturday, Lille won 2-0 at home to Ajaccio to claim only their second win of the campaign, but misfiring champions Montpellier slumped to 15th place after losing to an 89th-minute goal at home to Evian, 2-3.
Elsewhere, substitute Gaetan Courtet pounced twice in the last four minutes to earn Reims a 3-1 win at home to Nice that lifted the promoted club up to fourth.
Valenciennes were prevented from climbing to third after a 20-yard effort from substitute Adrien Regattin in the last minute earned hosts Toulouse a 2-2 draw, while Mevlut Erding's seventh-minute header gave Rennes a 1-0 win at Sochaux.
In a gripping game in Corsica, bottom club Troyes twice came from behind to equalise against Bastia, despite having both Fabrice Nsakala and Xavier Thiago sent off, before finally going down 3-2 to an 87th-minute goal by Toifilou Maoulida.
Brest v Bordeaux, Lorient v Lyon, Marseille v Paris St Germain