The story appears on

Page A16

May 18, 2018

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Sports » Soccer

Payet’s exit shatters Marseille

AS midfielder Dimitri Payet limped off the field injured, Marseille’s chances of winning the Europa League went with him.

Marseille lost 0-3 to Atletico Madrid, an emphatic defeat which overshadowed the French club’s bright start. Marseille was lost without the silky playmaker pulling the strings in midfield, and Atletico took complete control after he went off in the 31st minute.

“You need your best players at their best level in this kind of game,” Marseille coach Rudi Garcia said. “When you lose your captain it becomes tough.”

Pre-game, Atletico coach Diego Simeone had mentioned the need for his team to neutralize Payet. He is a slippery and gifted technician who elusively finds space from which to play devastating passes or hammer arrow-like shots from distance.

Despite carrying a thigh injury, Payet appeared to be sharp and played a great through ball for Valere Germain in the third minute — but the striker lofted it over. It was Marseille’s best chance until substitute Kostas Mitroglou hit the post in the 81st, by then it was already 2-0.

“Even though Payet was not fully fit, he still almost set up a goal,” Garcia said. “We also lost our best passer and our best free-kick taker.”

Payet could also be doubtful for the World Cup.

France coach Didier Deschamps was to announce his World Cup squad yesterday, and Payet had hoped to be called up after his impressive form in recent weeks for Marseille. He is the French league’s top playmaker this season with 13 assists and had 3 goals and 7 assists in the Europa League, starring in the quarterfinals and semifinals.

Payet was in tears as he left the field at Stade de Lyon and was consoled by teammates. He sat slumped on the bench as he looked on, helplessly. Without Payet’s threat, Atletico’s midfield was able to push up much more, less worried about protecting the space behind them.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend