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Tuesday, October 19, 1999 Published at 22:51 GMT 23:51 UK

Sport: Football

Gallas sinks Man Utd

William Gallas proved more than a match for the United defence

Marseille 1-0 Man Utd

William Gallas secured Marseille's third victory in four Champions League games at Stade Velodrom on Tuesday, with a rifling second-half shot that sank Manchester United.

The BBC's Ian Brown: "A first Champions League defeat in 21 matches for United"
After a drab first-half in poor conditions, Gallas raced through the United defence to hit a vital winner for the French side.

Marseille now top Group D, while United must ensure they make ammends in Zagreb next week.

Recent thunderstorms had made the surface in Marseille very poor indeed. And there had even been suggestions before kick-off that the match would be called off. Nevertheless, the game kicked off on time, despite further heavy rain all morning.

Giggs earned a free-kick outside the Marseille area within five minutes, after Sebastien Perez clearly obstructed him.

Beckham found the head of Yorke, but Stephane Porato finally managed to fall on the ball after finding himself in no man's land.

Bosnich nerves

Mark Bosnich again showed his weakness early on, looking nervous with the ball at his feet to allow Fabrizio Ravanelli to close him down.

United earned another free-kick mid-way through the half, after Eduardo Berizzo took Yorke's legs from behind.

[ image: Jaap Stam fends off Fabrizio Ravanelli]
Jaap Stam fends off Fabrizio Ravanelli
At 20-yards out, it was the perfect distance for Beckham. But he failed to find the necessary strength of shot and Porato easly collected it at the near post.

Marseille were struggling to push enough players forward, until, that is, Ravanelli played a superb ball behind the United defence to Robert Pires. Pires hit a mighty shot as the ball bobbled up on the greasy surface, but Bosnich did well to clear.

It seemed to rattle United, however, with the French side finding more open space inside the treble winners' half.

Stam was penalised for a tackle on Ravanelli outside the United area, which the Italian rocketed past the post. Bosnich would have been lucky to reach it.

Scholes was awarded a yellow-card just before the break for a rash challenge on Peter Luccin.

It prompted tempers to flare on both sides. But the situation was dealt with quickly by referee Hellmut Krug who awarded a free-kick to Marseille, before the whistle blew.

Marseille pick up the pace

Both Giggs and Beckham were clearly struggling in the poor conditions. United looked to be playing for the draw and showed little inspiration with the ball at their feet.

[ image: Dwight Yorke: Unable to punish the French side]
Dwight Yorke: Unable to punish the French side
Marseille, in contrast, were looking a little more spirited, despite missing a fine chance, when Pires failed to find the net, just yards from the line.

The pitch began to cut up quickly in the second-half and undoubtedly contributed to the cautious manner of both teams.

Pires continued to prove a constant menace to United, but lacked the support to cause Bosnich any real problems.

Marseille replaced Frederic Brando with Ivan de la Pena in the final quarter, and he proved a good omen for the French side.

Gallas rocket

Seconds later, Gallas set the stadium alight with the game's opening goal after a superb one-two with Stephane Dalmat.

The centre-back wasted no time with the shot, rifling the ball past Bosnich after racing through the United defence.

Giggs then wasted a good opportunity after Yorke had found space in the centre.

United had clearly upped the tempo, and, after Florian Maurice had replaced Ravanelli, Giggs was unlucky not have created an opening after a fine run on the left.

In a tactical substitution, Alex Fereguson replaced Henning Berg with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the dying minutes.

Beckham showed United's frustration when he was cautioned in the 85th minute and Solskjaer immediately showed his class when he forced Porato into a superb save from 40 yards.

United pushed further forward, creating huge spaces for Marseille to run into. But neither side could add to the scoreline in the final, frantic seconds.


Olympique Marseille: 1-Stephane Porato; 3-Sebastien Perez, 6-Eduardo Berizzo, 4-Pierre Issa, 23-William Gallas, 2-Patrick Blondeau; 8-Frederic Brando, 26-Peter Luccin, 12-Stephane Dalmat; 7-Robert Pires, 11-Fabrizio Ravanelli

Manchester United: 1-Mark Bosnich; 12-Phil Neville, 21-Henning Berg, 6-Jaap Stam, 3-Denis Irwin; 7-David Beckham, 16-Roy Keane, 18-Paul Scholes, 11-Ryan Giggs; 19-Dwight Yorke, 9-Andy Cole

Referee: Hellmut Krug (Germany)

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