French Ligue 1 report: Bastia hold Marseille to draw
Last Updated: 09/08/14 11:06pm
Marcelo Bielsa's debut in the Marseille dugout was a typically chaotic affair as careless Marseille were held to a 3-3 draw by Claude Makelele's Bastia.
Life is rarely boring for clubs under the supervision of Argentinian tactician Bielsa, who has been lured to the Stade Velodrome to revive the flagging fortunes of the nine-time French champions.
Standing in the adjacent technical area on Saturday night was former France midfielder Makelele, also making his Ligue 1 coaching bow, yet some 24 years behind Bielsa in terms of experience.
He won the tactical battle, however, as second-half goals from Gadji Tallo and Christopher Maboulou reined in Marseille's two-goal lead to spoil the mainlanders' opening-night party.
Bastia had scored first, Maboulou firing a sweet half-volley beyond Steve Mandanda when the goalkeeper crept slightly off his line in the ninth minute of action at the Stade Armand Cesari.
L'OM wasted no time in equalising as Andre-Pierre Gignac met Benjamin Mendy's inviting cross from the left with his head to leave on-loan Paris St Germain keeper Alphonse Areola rooted to the spot.
The Corsicans then contrived to turn the game on its head, Romaric gifting Marseille the lead by swiping at Florian Thauvin's weak effort and clumsily slicing the ball beyond Areola.
Bastia started the second half brightly but in the 61st minute Marseille found their third goal against the run of play.
Handling the ball as he tried to block a cross, Sebastian Squillaci conceded the penalty that Gignac slotted into the bottom corner with pin-point precision.
All that was left was for Les Phoceens to manage their advantage for the remaining half-hour.
It was not to be, though, as Bastia halved the deficit through another spot-kick in the 74th minute.
After Mendy felled Maboulou in the penalty area, Tallo stepped up and did the honours with a minimum of fuss.
Bielsa slouched into his familiar crouching position on the touchline as events continued to conspire against his team and, in the 74th minute, his gameplan was unravelled.
This time Maboulou turned Jeremy Morel to give himself the space he needed to beat Mandanda and convert his brace, earning Bastia their first point of the season while denying Marseille two.