Deschamps makes Marseille proud again

PARIS - Seventeen years after he captained Olympique Marseille to their Champions League triumph, Didier Deschamps made them proud again on Saturday.

Now the Marseille coach, Deschamps guided them to their first title since they beat AC Milan 1-0 at Munich's Olympic Stadium in 1993 to take the inaugural edition of the Champions League, with a 3-1 win over Girondins Bordeaux in the French League Cup final.

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"This is a moment of intense joy," Deschamps told reporters, a Marseille scarf around his neck, after a long wait ended for supporters of the club from the soccer-mad Mediterranean port city at Stade de France.

"It's great for all those who have been following the club for years but this victory belongs to the players who fought for it on the pitch."

Tough times followed their Champions League win, as they were stripped of their 1993 French title over a bribery scandal and demoted to the second division.

They recovered, however, and often came close to regathering past glory, losing French Cup finals in 2006 and 2007 and the UEFA Cup finals of 1999 and 2004.

A ray of hope returned to Marseille in June last year when Deschamps became their coach.


"This is for all those around this club who had been waiting for this for years," Deschamps said.

"It will also boost our confidence and determination for the league games to come," added the Marseille coach, whose team lie three points behind leaders Bordeaux in the Ligue 1 standings.

The diminutive Deschamps, who has won plenty in his days as a tenacious holding midfielder, most notably the World Cup with France in 1998, looked agitated at the side of his bench during a tense, tactical final.

It was not until the second half that Marseille showed more initiative, killing the tie with two goals in quick succession after the hour mark.

Girondins Bordeaux, whose coach Laurent Blanc featured with Deschamps in France's 1998 World Cup-winning squad, were hoping to lift the League Cup a record fourth time.

Blanc, who looked slightly calmer than Deschamps during the match, was also looking for a morale boost before visiting Olympique Lyon in the first leg of their all-French Champions League quarter-final tie on Tuesday.

"Technically, we were just not good enough to trouble Marseille tonight," the former France defender said.

"We tried a few things but lost too many balls in midfield.

"Obviously, this is not the best way to prepare for the match against Lyon but a final needs a winner and Marseille deserved to win this one."

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