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Rediff.com  » Sports » Ronaldinho inspires PSG to victory

Ronaldinho inspires PSG to victory

March 10, 2003 11:27 IST

A fine performance from Ronaldinho inspired Paris St Germain to an emphatic 3-0 victory over Olympique Marseille in the French first division on Sunday, their third win over their arch-rivals this season.

Marseille went behind to a Jerome Leroy goal in the 26th minute before Ronaldinho made it two in the 55th minute and set up Leroy again for the third seven minutes from time.

The defeat, their first at home against PSG in 15 years, was all the more painful for Marseille as they would have moved back to the top of the league, three points clear of Monaco, had they won.

The principality team lost 1-0 at home to Girondins Bordeaux on Saturday.

Both teams are tied on 52 points, with Monaco ahead on goal difference, while PSG move up to sixth, seven points adrift.

"We can't beat PSG this season," said Marseille manager Alain Perrin.

"This goes to show motivation is not enough to win a game especially when you hand goals to your opponents.

"Fernandao's injury was another sad fixture of this nightmare night," he said.

Marseille's Brazilian striker was forced out in the fifth minute after a collision with Argentine defender Gabriel Heinze. He was sent to hospital with concussion.

PSG had also beaten Marseille 3-0 in the league and 2-1 in the French Cup earlier this season.

RONALDINHO SHINES

Leroy's first goal, an unexpected shot from the right-hand corner of the box, was a deserved reward for PSG's tactical dominance in the first half.

Perrin said before the game he had a plan to counter Ronaldinho, but it did not show on the pitch as the Brazilian international shone throughout.

A blunder by Marseille captain Frank Leboeuf allowed the World Cup winner to break away on his own and beat Croatia goalkeeper Vedran Runje in the 55th minute.

Then five minutes before the final whistle he sealed the victory after following up a swift counter-attack with a perfect pass for Leroy, who made it three.

As is usual in clashes between the two sides, the atmosphere in the stadium was tense and PSG coach Luis Fernandez was bombarded with lollipops thrown by Marseille fans mocking his habit of sucking them on the touchline since giving up smoking.

"I didn't dance the samba this time, but I was thrilled by our three goals," Fernandez said before paying tribute to Ronaldinho.

"It was a deserved victory with Ronaldinho at the wheel. We knew he was gradually making it back to his best," he said.

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