Marseille fans pay their Bernard Tapie tributes, Lens and Nice lose
PARIS (AP) — Giant banners of Bernard Tapie were displayed at Stade Velodrome as Marseille fans paid an emotional tribute to the former club president they adored before Sunday’s 4-1 home win against Lorient.
Marseille’s win moved it up to third place in the French league, one point behind second-place Lens and one point ahead of Nice in fourth.
“Avec Toi Nous Avons Atteint Les Sommets” (With You We Reached the Heights) one banner read, with a picture of Tapie placed between the years 1943 and 2021. Tapie died on Oct. 3 at the age of 78.
It was under Tapie’s leadership that Marseille won the Champions League in 1993, toppling Italian giant AC Milan in an era when it also dominated French soccer. No other French club has won Europe’s elite competition.
A large picture of Tapie’s smiling face was also spread over the center circle before kickoff, and players warmed up wearing black T-shirts with a picture of Tapie along with the words “A Jamais Dans Nos Coeurs” (Forever In Our Hearts).
Forward Armand Lauriente put the visitors ahead early on from the penalty spot to quieten Stade Velodrome, which was hosting a game for the first time since Tapie died.
Midfielder Boubacar Kamara equalized in the 27th with a slightly deflected shot from the edge of the penalty area after being set up by former Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guendouzi.
Guendouzi put Marseille ahead in the 57th when he headed in from Dimitri Payet’s corner.
Imposing Poland striker Arkadiusz Milik capped a good second half for Marseille when he netted a late third goal after being played through on goal by Payet. It was Milik’s first goal of the season after several months out with a knee injury.
The 22-year-old Guendouzi had managed just two league goals in his career but now has three this season after completing the rout in injury time, thanks to a third assist from Payet.
Earlier, Lens lost 1-0 at Montpellier to fall nine points behind runaway league leader Paris Saint-Germain after 10 matches.
Montpellier dominated the first half and pressure told moments after the break when English striker Stephy Mavididi scored from Teji Savanier’s pass.
Forward Valere Germain hit the post for Montpellier early on after latching onto a fine pass from Savanier, a slick playmaker who was in great form throughout and is pushing for a first call-up to France’s national squad.
Nice lost 1-0 at promoted Troyes after failing to reply to an early goal from forward Mama Balde.
Defender Giulian Biancone set up Balde in the fourth minute and he shot under the crossbar.
Top scorer Amine Gouiri came on in the second half for Nice after scoring midweek for France’s under-21 side and looked a threat.
Troyes moved out of the relegation zone.