Beckham plays classic cameo role as PSG win Le Classique

Story highlights

  • David Beckham makes debut for Paris Saint Germain
  • Comes off the bench in crunch match against Marseille
  • PSG win match 2-0 to strengthen grip on French title
  • Inter Milan and AC Milan draw 1-1 in derby match

He only played for the last 14 minutes, but David Beckham typically was the center of attention as his eagerly awaited debut for Paris Saint Germain ended in a crucial victory for the French league leaders Sunday.

PSG were leading third placed Marseille 1-0 in Le Classique at Parc des Princes when the former England captain came off the bench to a rapturous reception from the home supporters.

Some neat early passes showed he has lost none of his ability and the best was reserved for the very last as in the first minute of injury time Beckham's neat chip over the top led to the clinching second for PSG.

It found fellow substitute Jeremy Menez, whose cross was bundled home by PSG's star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic for his 24th of the season.

It was all captured by a special 'Beck Cam' which host broadcaster Canal Plus had deployed to follow every move of the 37-year-old football icon, such has been the level of interest since his transfer to France's Ligue 1 from MLS side LA Galaxy.

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Read: Beckham excited by Le Classique debut

Beckham had spent much of a freezing evening in Paris, shivering on the bench, while in the stands his pop star wife Victoria and former French president Nicolas Sarkozy awaited his arrival on the pitch.

His former Real Madrid teammate and Brazil World Cup star Ronaldo was also honored ahead of kick off.

In the 76th minute, with PSG having to fight hard to hold a lead given to them by an early own goal from Marseille defender Nicolas N'Koulou, coach Carlo Ancelotti finally threw him into the fray to replace Argentina's Javier Pastore.

The match had been billed as a showdown between Beckham and fellow Englishman Joey Barton, who plays in midfield for Marseille.

Barton, on loan from EPL side Queens Park Rangers, played the whole match and had some half chances to level while Beckham watched on.

The timely victory left big-spending PSG three points clear at the top from Lyon, who had beaten Lorient earlier Sunday. Defeat left Marseille eight points adrift.

Beckham, who has played for Manchester United, Real Madrid, AC Milan and LA Galaxy during his glittering career, has signed a contract with the Parisian giants until the end of the season.

He has donated his reported 800,000-euro ($1 million) monthly salary to a local children's charity.

Meanwhile, AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli had a less fruitful evening in his first Milan derby match for three years.

Read: Italy's 'proud' football racists

Balotelli, signed in the transfer window from Manchester City, missed a string of chances as his side were held 1-1 by his former side Inter, damaging their Serie A title hopes.

Milan, boosted by their 2-0 midweek win over Barcelona in the Champions League, took a 21st minute lead through striker Stephan El Shaarawy.

Balotelli had three clear chances to add to their lead in the San Siro before Inter midfielder Ezequiel Schelotto leveled in the 71st minute.

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