The 1950s were pretty sad for Olympique de Marseille. The only satisfaction: the Marseillais were successful in 1957 in the Charles Drago Cup and played a Coupe de France final in 1954. But the final against Nice was disappointing for the home fans.
In 1953-1954, Olympique de Marseille had a bad season and finished in a sad 14th place in the first division. But OM stood out in the Coupe de France. The Provencal club entered the competition in the 32nd round and overcame Grenoble (3-0) in January 1954 thanks to a double by Ben Barek and a Mercurio goal. The next round, Marseille faced Reims at the Parc des Princes and eliminated them with a double by Andersson and a goal from Ben Barek (3-2)
THE SOUTH DERBY
OM then eliminated Strasbourg in the round of 16 in March 1954 (2-1). Ben Barek and Palluch qualified OM for the next round. Marseille continued its course by beating Rouen in the quarter-finals after extra time (3-2). The club then began to dream of a seventh Coupe de France, 11 years after its last and 13 years after the final lost against Racing Club de Paris.
A victory against Sedan in the semifinals allowed OM to make the final (2-1). The Blue and White faced Nice in the final in a South derby that promised to be thrilling. OGC Nice, led by striker Just Fontaine, won the Champions League double just two years ago. By superstition, the leaders want the players to stay in the same hotel as the one against Sedan in the semi-finals. But the Vietnamese Emperor Dao Bai was present in the Henri IV Pavilion and the hotel could not accommodate the players.
On 23 May, 1954, OM and Nice clashed in the Stade de Colombes in front of 56,803 spectators -- including Gaston Defferre, Mayor of Marseille. After arriving late to Colombes, Les Olympiens are not concentrated enough to kick off and the final quickly becomes a nightmare for Les Olympiens -- who see Nice score two goals in the first 10 minutes of play via Nuremberg (1 -0, 5) and Carniglia (2-0, 10). The Phocaeans, coached by Henri Roessler, are clumsy and slow and return to the locker room with a two-goal deficit against more balanced Nice side.
But OM, with a trio Scotti, Andersson, Ben Barek, does not let down and reduces the score thanks to a shot from the formidable Swedish Gunnar Andersson early in the second half (2-1, 55). Two minutes from the end of regulationa, the Marseillais Roger Scotti tries a lob on the Nice goalkeeper Hairabedian. He is beaten and the Phocaeans then believe in the equalization. But Gonzales sends the ball away from the goal thanks to an acrobatic clearance. Has the ball crossed the line? The Olympiens are convinced but the goal is not granted. OM is defeated in this South derby and OGC Nice wins its second Coupe de France. Cruel for the Marseillais!