PARIS, Nov 6 — Marseille fans made their feelings clear to Patrice Evra as the Mediterranean side put their European troubles behind them by romping to a 5-0 win over Caen in Ligue 1 yesterday.
Evra, 36, was not involved in the game at the Velodrome having been suspended by his club for aiming a karate kick at the head of one of his team’s own supporters prior to Thursday’s Europa League defeat to Vitoria Guimaraes.
But a banner at one end of the ground carried the slogan “This Game is Over” in English, parodying Evra’s favourite slogan of “I love this game”.
Another banner read: “We don’t want you in our colours anymore. Evra get lost.”
Chants also rang out insulting the former Manchester United and Juventus left-back, who was red-carded after the incident, which occurred in the pre-match warm-up before the game in Portugal.
Without him Marseille ran riot, stretching their unbeaten run in the league to seven games to stay fourth.
Luiz Gustavo put the home side ahead just before the break, sweeping home after a Florian Thauvin shot had been blocked.
Thauvin then made it 2-0 just after the restart before Morgan Sanson got the third. But Thauvin was the main threat and the winger crossed for Kostas Mitroglou to head in before he completed the scoring with his second of the afternoon.
“It’s difficult to go through, of course, but what counts is having three points more tonight,” Marseille coach Rudi Garcia said. “As athletes we only have one thing to do: Express ourselves on the pitch, enjoy it and please our fans.”
Fekir fans flames
Lyon captain Nabil Fekir scored twice — taking his tally for the season to 11 — in a 5-0 demolition of bitter rivals Saint-Etienne, but he could face punishment after a provocative celebration sparked a late pitch invasion that forced a 30-minute delay.
Memphis Depay rolled in Lyon’s first goal on 10 minutes — after the match was briefly interrupted by a flurry of smoke bombs inside the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard — before Fekir made it 2-0 on 25 minutes.
Leo Lacroix was sent off for Saint-Etienne just after half-time, with goals from Mariano Diaz and Bertrand Traore piling on the misery for the home side before Fekir completed the rout.
But the France international triggered a furious reaction in the stands after removing his shirt and dangling it in front of the home fans, prompting the deployment of riot police to clear the pitch of a horde of supporters.
“Perhaps it’s not a gesture to do, there was no need for that. I don’t regret it but there you go,” Fekir told Canal+.
“I think it’s a shame, the solution was to win the match,” Lyon coach Bruno Genesio said. “There’s no point in rubbing it in and provoking. You need to be able to remain modest. You shouldn’t do something like that, it’s not good.”
Balotelli scores and sees red
Earlier, Mario Balotelli scored the only goal of the game as Nice beat Dijon 1-0, only for his afternoon to be marred when he was sent off late on.
The Italian striker converted a penalty five minutes from half-time for his sixth league goal of the campaign.
He was then sent off for the third time in Ligue 1 since moving to Nice at the start of last season, receiving a straight red card for chopping down Dijon defender Cedric Yambere from behind with a minute left.
Balotelli remonstrated with the fourth official as he went off but Nice held on to end a run of four successive league defeats and six consecutive losses in all competitions.
“Without criticising anyone, it seems a bit harsh. He wanted to win the ball and had no intention to hurt anyone,” said Nice coach Lucien Favre of Balotelli’s sending-off.
“But it is true that a tackle from behind is a straight red. He was annoyed after the match and thought it was too hard on him. But now he’s ok.”
Lille eased the pressure on coach Marcelo Bielsa with a 3-0 win away at bottom club Metz — their first victory since the opening weekend of the campaign. — AFP