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23rd Aug 2021

Players left bleeding and with ‘strangle marks’ after Nice v Marseille carnage

Danny Jones

Players and staff from both sides injured in Nice vs Marseille pitch invasion

Fans burst through the hoardings, invading the pitch, scrapping with players and staff and leaving several injured in the process

Ligue 1 lost its rag last night after what could have been a simple, yet big three points for OGC Nice against rivals Olympique Marseille boiled over into absolute bedlam forcing the match to be abandoned.

While there’s likely to be more details that come out of this chaos, everything seemed to stem from the unfortunate Dimitri Payet who not only got an earful from the fans all game but had to put up with projectiles being thrown at him and his teammates throughout. Sadly, after a bottle struck him in the head at pace, his patience had run out and he launched it back at the Nice fans.

Cue carnage:

It’s not the kind of cultured sight you’d expect to see on the French Riviera but as far as welcoming back fans for a derby, they certainly made their presence known. However, it really was not a nice look for either club or the division as a whole, which now has even more fresh eyes on it following the arrival of Lionel Messi.

As much as we do not condone any of the behaviour from either the fans or any of the players, who were scrapping both with each other and the fans pouring out from the stands, you can see from the clip below why Payet retaliated. It had been coming all match, in truth, it’s just unfortunate it got to that point.

Footage caught from the crowd shows the whole incident play out from the moment Payet first went down.

While players from both sides did try to defuse things at first, the tension had been rising all game and once more than one individual breaks onto the pitch, it is hard to control a situation like that.

Dozens, if not a hundred supporters ran down from their seats, swarming the stewards and bursting through the advertising boards to join in with the melee. In one quite incredible clip, you can even see a member of the Marseille staff run all the way over from the bench and deck a Nice fan. Surreal stuff.

Naturally, the game was abandoned but not after officials tried to resume the match after a long period of suspension. The broadcast on BT had to flick between showing members from both teams in and around the tunnel area to adverts before ultimately giving up and switching to MotoGP highlights.

The last action of the game had been a Marseille corner – the point at which Payet was struck by the bottle – but when Nice players returned to the pitch and poised themselves to defend the set-piece, their opponents were nowhere to be seen.

The home team were, rather incredibly, awarded the three points in the end but Marseille will obviously be appealing to the LFP. It won’t be the only complaint made either as a serious investigation into the events of the pitch is expected.

Perhaps the starkest images came from in the away dressing room, as RMC managed to secure photos of the injuries sustained by Marseille players such Payet, Peres and Guendouzi after the madness. As you can see, they were left with strangle marks and having drawn blood.

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