OM-Dijon: Carlos Mozer and his iron defense – Around OM

OM and Dijon did not meet before the 90s. The Dijon club did not experience the First Division until late, and when OM was in D2, the Burgundians were operating in CFA. It was therefore on April 3, 1991 that OM faced Dijon for the first time in its history. In a round of 16 of the Coupe de France, while the Olympians who have just qualified at the expense of great AC Milan on March 20 have their eyes on the European Cup of Champions Clubs and the semi-final they are going to play against Moscow’s Spartak in a week’s time at the Lenin Stadium in Moscow.

However, although deprived of JPP and Waddle, the Marseillais play with a team which holds the road. More than 15,000 spectators came to see the Olympian stars. With the iron defense made up of Amoros, Casoni, Mozer, Boli, and Di Meco protecting Olmeta, Germain, Tigana and Fournier in the middle, and Abedi Pelé and Vercruysse in attack. Raymond Goethals and Bernard Tapie dream of a hat-trick in the Coupe de France, the Championship and the European Cup. So no deadlock against Dijon, even if they rest their two attackers after a 0 to 0 in Cannes, where a certain very young player, Zinédine Zidane, started. In Dijon, OM did the job, Vercruysse opened the scoring in the first half, then doubled the stake after the break, Basile Boli closing the mark 5 minutes from the end. OM will then eliminate PSG, Nantes and Rodez but will lose against Monaco in the final just after the defeat in the final of the European Cup against the Red Star of Belgrade (on penalties) … but we don’t care. will remit two years later!

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As for Dijon, it is the arrival of Rudi Garcia in 2002 which will professionalize the club. In his first season, he brought the DFCO to the top of the National table to finish 4th three points from the climb. In 2003-2004, Dijon Football Côte-d’Or achieved exploits in the Coupe de France, and obtained its rise in Ligue 2. Garcia left the club for Le Mans in 2007, and it was not until 2011 to see the Burgundians in the League 1. OM will win 3 to 2 in the first leg, but Deschamps’ men will lose at the Vélodrome on the return 1 to 2 on a goal from Kakuta, the only Marseille defeat in the history of the clashes between the two clubs. One season and then go, Dijon will find the elite in 2016, with perhaps a last passage given its poor ranking, while we remain on two 0-0 inglorious in the last two meetings.

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If OM-Dijon do not leave us with lasting memories, let’s go back to the first Coupe de France meeting in 91 with the great Olympian team that season. And while we often talk about the attackers, the superb trio Waddle Papin Abedi Pelé, not to mention Vercruysse, Cantona and Stojkovic, unfortunately often injured, let us also remember this iron defense orchestrated around the ruthless Carlos Mozer. The Brazilian central defender was both super hard on the man, but he also paradoxically exuded a certain elegance, with a Brazilian technique that he had acquired at the beginning of his career in the youth teams of Botofago before joining Flamengo. . It was not just anyone, with his 32 caps for the Brazil team. He played a leading role in the eleven Olympian for three seasons. Arriving from Benfica, he had caught the eye of Bernard Tapie. He had this brutal side in front of the opposing attackers, and that pleased a lot at the Vélodrome. I remember opposing attackers who spilled out onto the wing and went out into touch without realizing it when they saw Carlos arrive launched like a shell. He had come to replace Karl-Heinz Förster after the double of 89, the German was not just anyone either.

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Carlos, alongside Boli and Casoni in central defense, terrorized the opposing attackers. OM was also Champion of France in 90, 91 and 92. Basile Boli, he confided in the tactics of Raymond Goethals: “I was leaving Auxerre where I had been rocked by the individual marking. Playing in zone, that tired me! And when you arrive, you have guys who, next to you, know how to play in zone, flat. Goethals made us work on this all the time. Sometimes it felt like his workouts were bogus. I remember we were walking. And then he said abruptly: “Manu! Get out! “He then removed Amoros from our defense and swung the ball to the right side. We had to learn to move as a block, to the right side, to compensate for his exit. And each time we had to adapt. But the thing was. the most important thing in his eyes was the need to defend by advancing. Casoni was a very, very good tactician. He was not fast, he was not tall, he was not physical, but he had this thing: timing, positioning, tactical intelligence … Amoros, it was the same, he had enormous experience. And Carlos too. Me, I was the fastest. To evolve, there was no not better. “

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With Amoros and Di Meco on the sides, the Olympian defense conceded 34 goals in 90, 28 in 91, and 21 in 92, improving from season to season, not to mention two very good goalkeepers, Pascal Olmeta who succeeded Gaëtan Huard after the injury of the latter. Not to mention the colossal work of midfielders, Bernard Pardo, Bruno Germain, Jean Tigana and Laurent Fournier. Eric confided recently: “Carlos Mozer, for me, was the strongest, but above all the meanest, as impossible. I saw him open the guys with the crampons. Two in Brest, and one in Montpellier. He was tall, strong. Finally. , he was not too strong, but lanky. Like those guys who hurt, with all the bones sticking out. He had a wonderful relaxation … ” This is what the Marseille defense looked like from 1990 to 1992, and it will forever be in the history of OM.

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