Paris-St Germain Survives the Velodrome Heat
Even French football has an El Clásico.
They've just never figured out which tradition to rip off.
So, the rivalry between Paris-St Germain and Olympic Marseille is variously known as:
- Le Classique ... thank you, Spain; and
- Le Derby de France ... much obliged, England.
Gotta say, though, a much more welcome similarity is the intensity generated when these two clubs meet. It's more than a football game.
It was Easter being celebrated everywhere else, but for football fans in southern France, the real holiday was because PSG was in town.
The understatement would be to say the atmosphere was electric. The reality was that it got out of hand, as evidenced by the unique way on Olympique supporter said bonjour to PSG's team bus:
Not too cool, actually.
The locals' display of loyalty was channelled much more appropriately inside the Velodrome:
Now, that was cool!
More than bragging rights were on the line in this one. Like title hopes. In that regard, André-Pierre Gignac stepped up:
After recent their Champions league success, PSG is hardly fazed by facing a deficit. In this case, Marquinhos had a very Brazilian answer:
Ah, yes. The telltale sign of a Brazilian defender is he's better at other aspects of the game than defending.
Up to yet another challenge, Gignac nailed his double to cap an Olympique counter-attack:
And not for nothing is PSG the leader of Ligue 1's pack. This is a brilliant build-up, with Blaise Matuidi providing a worthy coda:
Football is the game of confidence and resilience. When you have Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimović in the squad, goals will fly. One way or another. And in this derby, and he had the last word:
The 2-3 loss was a painful one for Olympique's fans. Some more than others.