Marseille in good position

After its victory in Montpellier (10-14) Marseille, who will play the return match on Saturday in its pool, looks set to add to its credit a 35th title of French champion. For its part, Strasbourg could not beat Nice (7-9) and will probably find it difficult to take third place.

For the first time this season Marseille fielded its entire roster. Indeed Igor Kovacevic, naturalised the eve of the match, could play with lefty Ugo Crousillat, USA centre-forward John Mann and Aussie Shark Martin Tyler. Should we see a sign of destiny? Anyway on the score sheet, the team of Olivier Chandieu never seemed stronger. In fact fourty seconds were enough for Sébastien Monneret to open the scoring. Montpellier came back very quickly by Uros Kalinic on a penalty shot. The large audience (over 2,000 people) encouraged their team, who resisted rather well to the Provencal players. However the first period (2-3) immediately highlighted the staggering inefficiency of the local team at this level on man-up situations (1 on 4). In such a tough match, with several man-up (15 for Montpellier), missing so many opportunities otherwise constitutes a professional misconduct, at least a serious handicap. Despite the excellent performance of the two goal keepers, the second period was more offensive (4-5), which allowed Marseille, led by Logan Piot (pictured) and Simon Thibault (2 goals each), to make the break (6- 8, 2nd period), and obliged Montpellier to run after the score. Always running after the score Montpellier finally equalised thanks to a better efficiency even if Mathieu Peisson, top scorer of his club, remained silent (10-10, 3rd period). Heavy handicap we wrote? Indeed, while the public claimed for victory, the defending champion fell again in its main core and, with a terrible 0 on 5 on man-up, could not counteract the final sprint of Marseille, where Alexander Camarasa scored two more goals. The final victory of Marseilles (10-14) is altogether logical and the gap may be difficult to overcome for Montpellier, which, this season, has lost all four matches which opposed the two clubs.

Uros Kalinic (Montpellier), best scorer of the match with 4 goals.

In the other match of the evening Strasbourg has not found the key to repeat the feat of the last round of the regular season against Nice (9-3). In a match where there were only seven exclusions fouls (!), Nice took command quickly (0-1, 1st minute), before digging and maintaining a gap of three or four goals, which ultimately proved enough despite the usual activity of the Alsatian quartet (Igor Racunica Nikola Sutic, Marko Bratic and Romain Blary). Nice has certainly deserved its victory (7-9). It seems that the terrible defeat conceded in Marseille in semis (17-4) has broken the momentum of victory of Strasbourg.

French Pro A League

Results : finals 1st leg.

Gold medal : Montpellier – Marseille  10 – 14 (2-3, 4-5, 4-2, 0-4)
Bronze medal : Strasbourg – Nice 7 – 9 (0-1, 2-2, 2-4, 3-2)

Semi-finals 2ng leg
Saturday 16th of May

Marseille – Montpellier
Nice – Strasbourg

Thank to Eric Dupont.

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