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The BBC's Ian Brown
"An abysmal performance from Chelsea"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 29 February, 2000, 21:45 GMT
Chelsea go down in Marseille

Zola; Two crucial misses
Marseille 1-0 Chelsea

Chelsea's 13-game unbeaten run came to an end as they slumped to a 1-0 Champions League defeat against struggling French side Marseille.

We were always going to be stretched towards the end of game but we were very poor.

Chelsea assistant boss Graham Rix
The result leaves Dutch club Feyenoord top of Group D with Chelsea in equal second with Italian giants Lazio and Marseille, who they meet again next week at Stamford Bridge, a point behind.

Inspirational midfielder Robert Pires put the home side ahead after 16 minutes when his cross-shot ricocheted in off keeper Ed de Goey's near post.

Marseille, 13th in the French First Division and until Tuesday night without a point in Group D, always had the upper hand over the London side.

Desailly closes down former Everton player Bakayoko
The challenge of taking on French World Cup winning trio Frank Leboeuf, Marcel Desailly and Didier Deschamps - the latter both former Marseille players - appeared to spur them into action.

Marseille should have taken the lead within the first five minutes after Ibrahima Bakayoko's snap cross found Cyril Pouget.

Chelsea appeared to put their early escape behind them as they created good openings for first Tore Andre Flo and then Gianfranco Zola.

We have got to win at Newcastle on Saturday and then beat Marseille next Wednesday

Graham Rix
Zola, who has scored only four goals for Chelsea all season, should have found the net with his 8th minute swing shot but he failed to connect properly.

Flo then had a zippy 20-yard shot tipped round the post as Chelsea seemed to have regain their composure.

But they were found lacking in several quarters as they found themselves a goal behind in the 18th minute.

Left-back John Harley was caught out of position and as Desailly attempted to cover for him, Pires slashed a speculative cross-shot that de Goey allowed to sneak inside his near post.

Rix: Tried everything
The ball needed the help of both posts but it was still a very poor goal for the Dutchman to concede at the top level.

Pires then had a chance to increase the lead ten minutes later but Harley somehow managed to race across to block his tap-in to an almost open goal.

Zola missed another goal-scoring opportunity five minutes before the interval, firing his relatively simple volley over the bar.

His free-kick a minute later almost produced the equaliser but both Desailly and Flo failed to connect.

There were brief fears the match might be affected by crowd trouble.

Some Chelsea fans were reportedly taken to hospital after French police fired tear gas into the crowd but there were no serious clashes at the Stade Velodrome.

The stadium was barely half full but the previously dispirited Marseille fans found their voice.

Firing blanks

Chelsea, marshalled by assistant manager Graham Rix in the absence of banned Gianluca Vialli, surged forward but struggled to make any clear-cut openings.

Flo was replaced by Chris Sutton with ten minutes to go but desite Chelsea's possession, they mustered little in front of goal.

Sutton's 86th minute shot was well-saved by Trevisan and with the keeper floored, the ball just eluded substitute Jody Morris.

The French keeper then made a stunning reflex save from a point-blank Gus Poyet header before bravely collecting the resulting corner to ensure the three points.


Marseille: Trevisan, Cyprien, Luccin, Abardonado, Blondeau, Dalmat, Brando, Pires, Leroy, Pouget, Bakayoko. Subs: Carasso, Issa, Martin, De La Pena, Keita, Martini, Moses.

Chelsea: De Goey, Harley, Desailly, Leboeuf, Ferrer, Poyet, Deschamps, Wise, Petrescu, Flo, Zola. Subs: Cudicini, Sutton, Di Matteo, Ambrosetti, Morris, Lambourde, Thome.
Referee: Rune Pedersen (Norway)

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See also:

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Links to other Champions League stories are at the foot of the page.