Another goal from the prolific striker Didier Drogba was sufficient for Marseilles to take a slender 1-0 advantage over Internazionale in their Uefa Cup quarter-final first-leg match last night.
France's other representatives in the competition, Bordeaux, did not fare so well as they were condemned to a 2-1 home defeat by Valencia.
The match between Marseilles and Inter, the only Italian team left in European competition, at the Stade Vélodrome pitted together two teams who have had disappointing seasons and are hoping to redeem themselves with a European trophy.
The first leg was settled in the early stages of the second period when Drogba scored at the second time of asking after his first shot was blocked. It was his ninth goal in European competition this season. "We could have got another goal, or two," Jose Anigo, the Marseilles coach, said. "I hope it doesn't come back to haunt us in the return match." Marseilles' only bad news also involved Drogba, who was cautioned and will now miss the return leg in Milan.
In Bordeaux, Francisco Rufete scored a late winner to hand Valencia a 2-1 victory against the 10 men from France. Rufete pounced in the 88th minute to complete a turnaround for the visitors, who had until then failed to make the most of the one-man advantage.
Albert Riera put Bordeaux ahead on 18 minutes before the home side had Antonio Mavuba sent off nine minutes later.
The French side were still able to hold on to their lead until the 75th minute against the team who are in second place in Spain's Primera Liga. But Ruben Baraja equalised and then Rufete scored late on to leave Bordeaux with a tough task in the second leg in Spain.Reuse content