It is not often that a Sunderland game features so prominently in the French press. Even though the sports daily, L’Equipe, covers the Premier League reasonably well, you can guess which teams dominate their columns.
Today is different. Paolo Di Canio’s exuberant celebration of each goal at St James’ Park gets the generous illustration you see and is then described in full in the text.
“At the first goal, he jumped for joy as if he had scored it,” the report gushed. “After the second, he ran along the touchline and threw himself to the ground on his knees. As for the third, he went to celebrate with his players.”
PDC is quoted as explaining later that he was already on his second suit since arriving at Sunderland as head coach, the first having proved too short. But he doesn’t mind if his reaction to goals costs him a replacement every game: “I’m ready to lose all my money on buying new suits if that means three points each weekend.”
The pictures say what I have left out.
That minor game at Wembley is squeezed on to the same page to the right of the extensive derby coverage.
L’Equipe’s main report of the only match that mattered goes on to recap the furore over PDC’s appointment. There are two other shorter reports, one briefly mentioning the arrests made after hard-of-thinking louts rampaged through the city centre after the game, the other mocking Alan Pardew’s attempt to blame the defeat in part on the linesman’s error that denied Papiss Cissé an equaliser.
He was right about the decision, said the paper, but “forgot to note that his team could have been down to 10 men after Yoan Gouffran’s challenge on Adam Johnson or, again, the two penalties not given to Sunderland for Steven Taylor’s foul on Danny Graham and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa’s handball”. Even L”Equipe overlooked the earlier non-foul the other way round, Sess on Taylor, that stopped Sessegnon having only Tim Krull to beat.
The headline is L’Equipe’s allusion to PDC’s self-description “The Unique One”. And despite the fuss over his appointment, the paper says without great profundity, he now represents Sunderland’s best hopes of pulling clear.
* Pete Sixsmith’s matchday report: The Newcastle-Sunderland Soapbox: high times, low life
** Paolo’s Pow-Wow: ‘my perfect warriors’ … https://safc.blog/2013/04/paolos-pow-wow-newcastle-utd-0-safc-3-my-perfect-warriors/
*** M Salut at ESPN: Suddenly life seems better for Sunderland
* The other French news is that as PSG romp to their money-driven title in Ligue 1, Marseille and Lyon seem to be battling for second place, though St Etienne, Nice and Lille are still in contention. Lyon won for the first time since February 24, beating Toulouse 3-1 without Steed Malbranque, suspended in line with France’s tough policy of a one-match ban for three yellow cards in 10 games. Marseille, whose feeble scoring record means they have a goal difference of only four despite having won nine times more often than they have lost, could only draw at Lille.
At the bottom, Nancy continued their late revival with a decent draw at Ajaccio and are now just a point short of 17th bottom. In Ligue 2, Monaco are now eight points clear at the top and Sess’s old club Le Mans, also Monsieur Salut’s city-in-law, are deep in financial trouble and in serious danger of another relegation.