Bottles thrown, match held-up as Marseille fight back

Paris (AFP) – Marseille came back from two goals down to win 3-2 at Montpellier in their French Ligue 1 opener on Sunday but the game was held up when fans pelted the pitch with bottles.

The clash at the Stade Mosson was halted in the 89th minute after Marseille substitute Valentin Rongier had been hit on the head with a bottle.

Montpellier’s Florent Mollet was also targeted as he readied to take a corner.

Referee Jeremie Pignard led both teams off the pitch while appeals were made for calm.

The game was eventually restarted after a delay of 10 minutes.

The derby was played in front of 13,500 fans as the first weekend of the new season witnessed the return of spectators after seven months of matches played behind closed doors due to the pandemic.

An own-goal by Luan Perez and a strike by Gaetan Laborde had given Montpellier a 2-0 lead at half-time.

But Cengiz Under pulled one back for Marseille in the 67th minute before two goals in five minutes by Dimitri Payet completed the recovery.

Earlier, Turkish striker Burak Yilmaz was hailed “a true leader” after forcing home a last-gasp goal as Lille fought back to a 3-3 draw at Metz ase the French champions opened their title defence.

The surprise champions, who also beat Paris Saint-Germain in the French Super Cup last week, were trailing 3-1 before late goals from Nanitamo Ikone and Turkish national team captain Yilmaz gave them a hard earned away point.

It was a cautionary tale for Metz who foolishly gave the ball away with a shot on goal deep into injury time.

Yilmaz then rampaged the full length of the pitch with the seconds running down to dribble into the area from the left wing and squeeze a shot home from a tight angle.

“That is a true leader,” Lille coach Jocelyn Gourvennec said of Yilmaz. 

“He’s a real professional, a real athlete and works so hard when the chips are down.”

Lille captain Jose Fonte was furious after giving up three goals.

“It’s not right and I’m not happy. But after that we showed why we are champions,” said the Portuguese international.

Christophe Galtier led Lille to the title last season but quit and joined ambitious south-coast outfit Nice.

However, there was to be no champagne reception in his first game as the Ineos-bankrolled side were held 0-0 at home by Reims.

In Brittany 18,000 fans were on hand to see Rennes draw 1-1 with promoted Lens, where teenage winger Kamaldeen Sulemana from Ghana opened the scores with a snap-shot before Lens drew level late on after a goalmouth mix-up.

Promoted Clermont got off to a flyer beating Bordeaux 2-0 away thanks to late goals from top scorer in Ligue 2 last season Mohamed Bayo, and Jodel Dossou with the last kick of the game.

Strasbourg also suffered a 2-0 home defeat as Ismael Traore and Stephane Bahoken bagged second half goals for visitors Angers.

Lorient took the lead with a Vincent Le Goff strike in a tight game at Saint-Etienne, who levelled from the spot with a Wahbi Khazri penalty.

Paris Saint-Germain might be closing in on signing Lionel Messi but another Argentinian was their match-winner on Saturday as Mauro Icardi’s goal secured a 2-1 victory against newly-promoted Troyes.

Lyon were held to a 1-1 draw by Brest.

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