What better way for an Olympic than to find favor in Greece? After seven years of abstinence, the Marseillais finally danced in the Champions League. At the edge of the Aegean Sea, in Piraeus, district of Athens. On an old port, a bit like home. Except that the men of André Villas-Boas were not at the party so far. They even suffered and lost at the last minute (1-0) on a goal from Hassan.
It makes sense, moreover, even if their Argentinian striker Benedetto had a magnificent opportunity to open the scoring. Not flamboyant in France, it is difficult to see how Dimitri Payet and his teammates could have fun on lawns where the game is declining at a speed to which they are not used.
Yet the silent atmosphere of the Karaïskakis stadium played for them. Empty stands, siphoned off by the coronavirus which is reaching all shores of the continent and proliferating there, suggested a slightly less tough adversity. An adversity symbolized by Mathieu Valbuena, ex-idol of La Canebière who, at 36, after a stay in Turkey, found asylum last year in the ancient city.
Payet is nonexistent and Valbuena twirls
It was he who almost plunged the Marseillais to the bottom of the abyss from their first outing. After a good game of billiards, his shot fails on Masouras who deceives Mandanda (52nd). Offside of a sole. The referee refuses the goal. Relief in the ranks of Olympians. Hope persists as boredom takes hold of the bare bleachers. It knits, it gets agitated sometimes, but it sorely lacks intensity, percussion, precision.
These champions lack relief. There are two or three attempts by Florian Thauvin, so many timid shots that do not tremble either the nets or the minds of the Greeks. Steve Mandanda is working, him, on an opportunity of Valbuena (70th), who still twirls in the second half. OM is starting to take water. Its leaders are absent, Dimitri Payet non-existent.
And Mathieu Valbuena, he puts on a show. It centers perfectly for the head of Hassan who deceives Mandanda (90th). Cold shower. The operation is bad. A loss to begin with is never good. Especially since the hardest part remains to be done. Manchester City, who beat Porto (3-1) in the other group match, arrives at the Orange Velodrome on Tuesday with other assets up their sleeve. The Olympians will have to raise their level if they do not want to drown, because they have been far from being Olympic in Greece.
Article original de: www.leparisien.fr