The French League hasn’t finished yet, but Marseille secured its 40th title of the national champion.
After the second of three playoff tournaments, Marseille has 18 points. The 2nd-placed Noisy-le-Sec is 10 points behind the leader. Each team will play three matches until the playoffs end, so Marseille has already mathematically secured 1st place and a new crown.
Noisy-le-Sec was the host of the 2nd tournament. Marseille continued its winning streak and convincingly beat all three rivals.
Noisy won five points on the home field, but they had carried only three from the first stage in Tourcoing. Therefore the Parisians have no chance of catching up with Marseille.
The playoffs will end with the tournament in Marseille (May 15 – 17). The hosts will play for pride. Still, there will be important matches in Marseille. The battle for 2nd and 3rd place and the Champions League qualifications remains open. The third-placed Strasbourg is just two points behind Noisy. Tourcoing has four points in 4th place.
Most of the duels between these three teams in the playoffs were close battles, so nothing is impossible.
2022/23 French League, playoffs, Tournament 2 (Paris)
Marseille – Tourcoing 15:9 (3:2, 5:4, 3:2,4:1)
Marseille: Vukicevic 6, Crousillat 3, Prlainovic 2, Vernoux 2, Bodegas 1, Bouet 1
Tourcoing :Marzouki 2, Canonne 2, Lepoint 1, Durik 1, D.Zivkovic 1, Draskovic 1, Kujacic 1.
Noisy-le-Sec – Strasbourg 9:8 (2:2, 3:1, 3:3, 1:2)
Noisy-le-Sec (Cercle 93) : Do Carmo 2, A. Petkovic 2, Bowen 2, Krapic 1, Bjorch 1, Caumette 1.
Team Strasbourg : Buha 3, Chion 1, Bachelier 1, Vitrant 1, D.Zivkovic 1, M.Petkovic 1
Marseille and Tourcoing played in the first match of the tournament, held in the northeastern suburbs of Paris, Aulnay-sous-Bois. Tourcoing didn’t surprise the favorite, but it kept up with Marseille in the first half. At the beginning of the second period, Marseille earned a 4:2 lead. Tourcoing leveled at 4:4. Then Ante Vukicevic took the match into his own hands. He scored three goals in Marseille’s three consecutive attacks, and the favorite went to 7:4. Marseille maintained a 3-goal distance until the last break and doubled the advantage in the final quarter.
Noisy-le-Sec dictated the pace in the middle two quarters of the game against Strasbourg, but the home side secured three points only at the finish. Noisy had a big 8:3 lead in the middle of the third period. However, Strasbourg managed to erase the deficit. The visitors produced a 5:0 run. Strasbourg’s Antonio Buha converted a man-up for 8:8 with 86 seconds left on the clock. Noisy earned a 6 on 5 in its next possession. Emil Bjorch took responsibility and scored a winner – 9:8.
Tourcoing – Strasbourg 14:6 (5:0, 1:1, 4:3, 4:2)
Tourcoing : D.Zivkovic 5, Canonne 3, Basic 2, Marzouki 2, Durik 1, Kujacic 1
Team Strasbourg : Denux 2, Bachelier 1, Canovas 1, Popadic 1, Vitrant 1, Buha 1.
Noisy-le-Sec – Marseile 11:20 (4:4, 2:6, 2:6, 3:4)
Noisy-le-Sec (Cercle 93): Bowen 4, A.Petkovic 2, Do Carmo 1, Caumette 1, Krapic 1, Ait Dahmane 1, Guerin 1
Marseille : Vernoux 5, Prlainovic 4, Crousillat 3, Marion-Vernoux 2, Bouet 2, Spaic 1 Izdinsky 1, Bodegas 1, Vukicevic 1.
Strasbourg demolished Tourcoing in the first tournament (15:7), but it couldn’t repeat that excellent performance. Moreover, the players of Tourcoing took their complete revenge by beating Strasbourg by eight goals (14:6). Tourcoing took a flying start and earned a 6:0 lead (13th minute). After Tourcoing’s sixth goal, Strasbourg got on the scoreboard. Popadic scored from a penalty shot (1:6). The team in blue caps came even closer early in the third period (2:6). Still, Tourcoing’s leftie, Duje Zivkovic responded with four goals in five minutes to give his team a 10:2 advantage and the contest was over.
Marseille practically secured the title already on Day 2, after beating Noisy-le-Sec 20:11. In the first half, it looked like it would be an exciting duel. After a balanced first period (4:4), Marseille took a 6:4 lead. Noisy halved the deficit (5:6).The turning point in this match was a 4:0 run. Marseille scored four unanswered goals in less than for minutes and went to 10:5. There was no way back for Noisy. In the second half, Marseille, led by Thomas Vernoux and Andrija Prlainovic, stretched the margin to nine.
Marseille – Strasbourg 22:7 (5:4, 8:2, 5:0, 4:1)
Marseille: Crousillat 4, Daube 4, Bouet 3, Prlainovic 2, Vernoux 2, Izdinsky 2, Bodegas 2, Marion-Vernoux 1, VUkicevic 1, De Nardi 1.
Team Strasbourg: M.Petkovic 3, Denux 2, Bachelier 1, Mehdi 1.
Noisy-le-Sec – Tourcoing 14:13 (2:1, 3:3, 4:1, 1:5, PSO 4:3)
Noisy-le-Sec (Cercle 93): A.Petkovic 4, Bowen 4, Saudadier 1, Bjorch 1, Do Carmo 1, Caumette 1, Gogov 1, Guerin 1.
Tourcoing: Marzouki 3, Canonne 3, Durik 3, D.Zivkovic 2, Draskovic 2.
On Day 3, Marseille did what it had to do. It beat Strasbourg and secured 1st place. Strasbourg was a tough opponent, but only in the first quarter. From the second period, Marseille dominated and trashed the rival – 22:7.
The last game was a real thriller, even though Noisy had a 5-goal lead in the middle of the third quarter (9:4). In the 25th minute, Tourcoing narrowed the distance to three (6:9), but immediately after, Alex Bowen made it 10:6. However, Noisy couldn’t find the net in the last seven minutes of the game, while Tourcoing netted four. Mehdi Marzouki scored an equalizer with nine seconds to go – 10:10, and the match entered the shootout. Noisy won two points after the shootout (14:13), but one point kept Tourcoing’s hopes of climbing to 2nd place alive.
1.Marseille 6 games – 18 points
2.Noisy-le-Sec 6 – 8
3. Strasborg 6 – 6
4. Tourcoing 6 – 4