ATHENS - Lucho Gonzalez scored the
only goal of the game as Marseille put their domestic
troubles aside to claim a 1-0 win over Olympiakos Piraeus in
their Champions League Group F opener on Tuesday.
The Argentine midfielder converted Jeremy Morel's low cross
from the right in the 51st minute following a closely-contested
first half with few scoring chances at the Georgios Karaiskakis
His strike proved enough to seal all three points for Didier
Deschamps's team, who have just three points from five French
league matches, as Olympiakos failed to rally in their first
competitive outing of the season.
"We showed that we had an appetite for victory," Deschamps
told a news conference.
"Victory is always good, especially in the Champions League
and coming at a ground where it is often difficult. There is of
course a long way to go but victory will give us peace of mind
"I do not think that my team has two faces," he continued.
"On Saturday I saw that my players had no will to fight.
Perhaps sometimes there are fluctuations but I know my team very
well and we showed what we are capable of with this
The hosts' lone striker Kevin Mirallas had the first clear
opportunity to score, in the 21st minute, but the Belgian
side-footed his effort wide of the post.
Lacking penetration for much of the opening half, Marseille
were reduced to trying their luck from a distance through Jeremy
Morel and Benoit Cheyrou.
The pair combined in the 35th minute to create the visitors'
best opening, however, when Cheyrou headed Morel's cross
narrowly over Franco Costanzo's crossbar.
Loic Remy almost opened the scoring for Marseille two
minutes later but his shot cannoned off the right post.
Marseille went in front six minutes into the second half
when Gonzalez tapped home at the near post from Morel's superb
The goal stunned the home crowd and Olympiakos could not
find a response.
"Certainly it was a disadvantage for us that this was our
first competitive match," said Olympiakos coach Ernesto
Valverde, whose team face Arsenal in their next match at Emirates Stadium in London in two weeks' time.
"We have said that the clear aim this year is the
championship," Valverde added. "The Champions League is
something extra, in which we strive to excel.
"Now we have to go to Arsenal and go for a win, although we
know how difficult it is. The truth is that in the group we are
dealing with three very good teams."
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