Marseille play Toulon in unusual half football half rugby charity match
“It was a game of two halves” is an old sports cliche, but on Wednesday, Ligue 1 runners up Marseille played Rugby Club Toulonnais in a charity match made up of two very different halves. In the first half, the two mismatched teams played Marseille’s sport of football. In the second, they play Toulon’s sport of rugby. And in the end the winner would be decided by combining the two scores. Sound bizarre? Well that’s probably why the organizers called it “Le Choc” (The Shock).
The match, which benefitted families with children battling cancer, started with the football. And just to make it even more interesting, Manchester United legend Eric Cantona joined former France rugby coach Marc Lievremont as the referees. 3 News explains what happened in the strange hybrid match from there.
Goalkeeper Steve Mandanda scored two goals early on – playing in midfield – but Toulon hit back to take a 3-2 early lead.
Marseille rallied, and took a 5-4 lead into half time, when the shin guards were replaced with mouth guards.
Toulon dominated the second half as expected, but Marseille showed they were could foot it, with striker Andre-Pierre Gignac scoring a crucial try.
Marseille’s physio, serving as a player for the day, evened the score at 31-31 for the rugby half. So combining that with the first half football score made Marseille 36-35 winners.
Of course, the day would not be complete without something from Cantona. So the 47-year-old striker showed that his accuracy in kicking a ball holds up regardless of the shape of said ball during a different sort of crossbar challenge.