Olympique Marseille – EA Guingamp 08-02-2017
Olympique de Marseille 2:0 En Avant de Guingamp
Wednesday- 8 February 2017
Stade Velodrome – Marseille, France
Attendance- 28,560 (Away- 20)
Leaving Munich early on Sunday, I spent a few days sightseeing through the Alps and Italy, visiting the Neuschweinstein Castle and Linderhof Castle in southern Bavaria as well as driving through Switzerland and Liechtenstein. After staying in the Italian lakes, this was followed by an absolutely indescribable experience of driving through Italian traffic in Genoa.
Finally, after a drive through the picturesque Verdun Gorge, I ended up on Wednesday in Marseille.
I was booked into a hotel down in the port area, the Hotel St Louis, which rated well on TripAdvisor, but as we got down to it, my traveling companion decided this didn’t meet his exacting standards of what he expects from his accommodations without ever leaving the car. I enjoy staying in the middle of the city, within walking distance of plenty of food, people and places, and I like the ease of the transport links, which has been important as he hasn’t been going to the games with me, so I’m using the trains, trams and buses to get there.
With his snobbery, we ended up staying at the new Marriott hotel at the Velodrome so everything would meet his approval (at double the price). Before going to get dinner, I got a ticket in the Tribune Jean Bouin for €30, which wasn’t a bad price for a good view point of the pitch, while also being next to Virage Süd so I could watch the more energetic Commando Ultra 84 and South Winners groups.
I got a pretty good pizza at the Brassiere de Stade for dinner across from ground before heading inside. An attendance of 28,000 wasn’t bad for a Wednesday game, presumably helped by the home debut of Dimitri Payet, after his transfer from West Ham for £27m. The ladies sitting behind me were extremely happy with his arrival, screaming out his name every time he came within a couple meters of the ball, apparently in the hopes that he was ready trade his wife in for a new model. Having only brought 20 fans to the Mediterranean coast, EA Guingamp didn’t have the strongest support behind them. The lack of away supporters was a bit disappointing since they’ve played well against OM in recent meetings, but these fans were due to be disappointed with their team’s performance.
The game started slow, but Guingamp never really seemed to get started, allowing OM to mount wave after wave of attacks. With Guingamp’s poor play, it was only a matter of time before OM opened the scoring, and in the 16th minute, a cross from Thauvin on the right side was easily met by Babitumi Gomis and his powerful header offered the beleaguered Guingamp keeper no hope.
It looked like the goals would come in bunches, but the only entertainment for the rest of the first half was the flag waving and singing to my right, and the ear piercing scream of “PAYET” from the group of women behind me.
The second half continued much as the first half had, with the noticeable exception of a deflected free kick by Payet that sealed the 3 points for the home side. When that goal went in, I honestly thought the ladies behind me were going to explode in ecstasy, but luckily they were eventually able to pull themselves back together.
Marseille saw out the game easily, and I enjoyed my first taste of French football. It was a very convenient 50 meter walk back to my hotel for the night. My only other task has been to check French gossip papers to see if Dimitri Payet has found himself a new wife, but so far it appears the ladies haven’t been successful yet.