MARSEILLE, France (AP) — Lacking passion and grit, Marseille made a disappointing start to the French league by losing 2-0 at home to Reims on Saturday.
Striker Boulaye Dia scored the opening goal and also delivered an assist as Reims claimed its first win at the Velodrome Stadium for more than five years.
On a hot afternoon in the southern city, new Marseille coach Andre Villas-Boas got his first taste of French football and saw how much work needs to be done to bring his team back among the elite, as the hosts looked bereft of attacking inspiration and were vulnerable to counterattacks.
Home keeper Steve Mandanda kept his side afloat in the first half with two good saves before Marseille went close to taking the lead against the run of the play when Kevin Strootman volleyed against the bar in the 57th minute.
But Mandanda could not stop Dia's effort in the 58th following Tristan Dingome's assist. Dia then beat the offside trap and turned provider in the 90th minute with a fine pass to Korean forward Suk Hyun-jun, who pounced to score.