a PSG-OM in Covid format, but a Classico all the same

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Published on : 13/09/2020 – 16:40

The Classico between Paris and Marseille promises to be uncertain on the ground on Sunday. PSG, weakened by several incumbents absent because of the coronavirus, will have to face an OM which presents itself ambitious at the Parc des Princes and where its last victory dates back to February 2010.

OM goes straight to Classico, Sunday, September 13 (at 9 p.m.), to break a series that has lasted for a decade. The Marseille club’s last victory dates back to February 28, 2010 at the Parc des Princes – November 27, 2011 at the Vélodrome – but André Villas-Boas’ team thinks they will arrive at the right time to face a Paris diminished by absences.

The capital club, with an ongoing series of 17 wins in 20 games in all competitions against OM, would like to continue its domination over its Marseille rival. But the Covid-19 epidemic has passed through there, and in early September PSG saw seven of its executives tested positive: Neymar, Angel Di Maria, Keylor Navas, Leandro Paredes, Mauro Icardi, Marquinhos and Kylian Mbappé. For the Classico, Paris recovers the first four cities, with a question mark on their state of form.

OM were also not spared by the virus in August, having even had to postpone their first game of the season against AS Saint-Étienne due to several players who tested positive, but the Marseille club has since regained its vitality. Marseille is present in this Classico with more sporting certainties, especially since it won its first meeting in the French championship (3 to 2 against Brest on August 30) when its Parisian opponent lost for his return to Ligue 1 (1-0 against Lens on September 10).

“Paris has slowed down a bit, it gave our supporters a little hope,” admitted OM coach André Villas-Boas. “We want to win. Maybe it’s a chance, the right time for us.”

“If you are to celebrate the defeats of others…”

PSG, lacking in offensive efficiency at Lens, will certainly have to rely on the returns of several of its star players to gain the upper hand over Steve Mandanda. “It’s a question of whether [ces joueurs] start or end the game for us. If there is no risk, we will try, “said Parisian coach Thomas Tuchel.

“The only thing that is clear is that they will not be 100%, echoed André Villas-Boas. We know what we suffered with our players who had the coronavirus, it is is hard [physiquement, NDLR].”

In addition to the sporting and health situation of this Classico, this Sunday’s PSG-OM was also punctuated by a few passes between the two clubs which are the folklore of this Ligue 1 summit. Dimitri Payet lit the first fuse August 23… After the defeat of PSG against Bayern Munich in the Champions League final. The Olympian midfielder posted a GIF on Twitter recalling that only his club had a European star above its emblem. “It’s fair game between two rival clubs”, justified the player in a press conference, Friday.

Asked about this and the fact that OM supporters celebrated the defeat of PSG, Coach Thomas Tuchel responded on Saturday : “They celebrated our loss to Manchester last year. Nothing new, I’m not interested. If you are to celebrate other people’s losses, then you have nothing to celebrate.”

In another register, the Collective Ultras Paris (CUP) stood out on Saturday by deploying two offensive banners, one aimed at Dimitri Payet and the other against the Marseille club. An initiative that sparked the indignation of the anti-homophobia collective Rouge Direct on Sunday.

With AFP

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