Rudi Garcia’s first game in charge of Marseille ended in a 0-0 draw with Paris Saint-Germain as his new side frustrated the French champions in Le Classique.
Garcia deployed a five-man defence to starve PSG’s array of attacking talent any space, and the approach paid off at a rain-soaked Parc des Princes.
PSG were mainly reduced to half-chances throughout, though top scorer Edinson Cavani missed an absolute sitter in the dying stages to secure three points for his side.
The home crowd grew restless as the game progressed at their side’s ponderous build-up play and inability to carve out any real opportunity of note against their big rivals, until a frantic last 10 minutes when PSG could have snatched the game on several occasions.
The draw means PSG are now unbeaten in their previous 13 matches against Marseille, though that statistic will be of little comfort to coach Unai Emery as his side cede more ground to surprise league leaders Nice.
PSG sit third in Ligue 1, two points behind second placed Monaco and six off Nice ahead of a trip to Lille on Friday.
The pattern of the game was evident from the outset, with Marseille happy to surrender possession to their hosts and block the route to goal with a solid five-man backline.
It took 18 minutes for the first shot on goal, with PSG reduced to ambitious efforts from distance.
Marseille keeper Yohann Pele was equal to a 25-yard strike from Angel Di Maria, and while he spilled another long-range effort five minutes later from the same man, no PSG player was able to capitalise on the rebound.
Cavani, starved of space throughout the half, finally found room to meet a Di Maria free-kick on 33 minutes, but the cross struck his shoulder and the ball sailed over the bar.
PSG had vociferous appeals for a penalty waved away just before the break when Cavani appeared to be caught by Rolando as he attempted to latch onto a chipped through ball into the area.
Florian Thauvin’s persistence carved out Marseille’s first opportunity early in the second half, but Bafetimbi Gomis’ effort from his cut-back across the area was blocked.
But that early foray forward was no indication of a change of tactic from Marseille, and the visitors soon reverted to their well-drilled defensive work.
Thiago Motta and Maxwell combined well on 66 minutes to find Di Maria’s well-timed burst into the box, but the Argentine winger speared his effort wide of Pele’s near post.
PSG attempted to crank up the pressure in the later stages, as Cavani first found space to meet a free-kick into the box to connect cleanly with a header, but could only direct it over the bar, before being denied by a sliding challenge at the near post from Serge Aurier’s cross.
Maxwell then should have done better when a loose ball fell kindly to him on the edge of the area on 80 minutes, but he dragged his left-footed effort wide of the post.
Cavani missed the game’s best chance to sum up PSG’s evening with just eight minutes to go, as a cross into the area evaded Pele and found the PSG forward two yards out from goal, only for him to remarkably divert the ball wide.
That allowed Marseille to breathe a collective sigh of relief as they clung on for a valuable point to begin Garcia’s reign.
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