France news

Balmont hits out at 'diver' Valbuena

November 26, 2012
By Fabien Perrin, France Correspondent

Lille's Florent Balmont accused Mathieu Valbuena of diving after being sent off as his side lost 1-0 to Marseille at the Stade Velodrome.

Florent Balmont and Mathieu Valbuena battle for the ball
PA PhotosFlorent Balmont and Mathieu Valbuena battle for the ball

Balmont was adjudged to have brought down Valbuena - who set up Marseille's second-half winner, scored by Jordan Ayew - and prevented a goalscoring opportunity on the stroke of half-time.

But Balmont said France international Valbuena made the most of the challenge and claimed he had "killed the match by diving".

Describing the red card as the "turning point", the angry midfielder said: "They should have been down to 10 after 20 minutes when there was a foul by Joey Barton, but I was the one to be punished.

"The foul deserved only a yellow card - I barely touched him. There was another defender there, but Valbuena killed the match by diving. We know him, he does that a lot, but it's a shame things went like this."

His comments were echoed by defender Aurelien Chedjou, who said: "If he [Valbuena] doesn't want to be touched, he can change sport. He is really a good player, but football is a contact sport."

But Lille coach Rudi Garcia defended his player and claimed: "Balmont was lucky - he could have been seriously injured. The referee is on the pitch to make sure the players stay safe."

Lille's defeat leaves them ninth in Ligue 1 with 20 points, while Marseille join PSG at the top of the Ligue 1 and could go top when they play Lyon in a rearranged clash postponed from October because of high winds.