Olympique Marseille wins local Ligue 1 Tournament
In the finale to a stunning exhibition tournament, Olympique Marseille defeated rival AS St-Ettiene 2-1 for the EA Ligue 1 title. Their first visit to DC under these circumstances was met with applause from the sidelines and a great showing for local soccer fans. Those who had not seen European soccer before were in for a treat as Marseille closed out the game late.
The first half was back-and-forth, where both teams got great chances to score. Dimitri Payet struck first for Marseilles in the 12th minute as a strong goal flew by St-Ettiene goalie Stephane Ruffier. But a mere five minutes later, Arnaud Nordin answered for ASSE, scoring an impressive shot out of the corner. Though there were threats in stoppage time, neither team could add to their scores.
The second half was every bit as competitive as the first. Five penalties were administered and ASSE forward Romain Hamouma had to leave the game late. Though in the 73rd minute, the final breakthrough came. Nemanja Radonjic, who had entered the game late, scored from the side to the roar of the fans in Marseille’s section. Le Bleu never looked back and held on to win the inaugural EA Ligue 1 Cup.
The EA Ligue 1 tournament is a preseason warmup for the top soccer division in France. Audi Field hosted the first tournament in America to strong turnout and great play from all sides. Tomorrow, Marseille will face the home team D.C. United in an exhibition game. In many ways, it is fitting for the champion to challenge their hosts in this manner. Given tonight’s performance, this game should be enjoyable for the French visitors.