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The Toe Poke
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By ESPN Staff

Marseille coach urges calm for Atletico game

Olympique Marseille coach Eric Gerets urged his club's fans to stay calm when the Provence side take on Atletico Madrid in the Champions League next month amid controversy over a Marseille fan detained in Spain.

Santos Mirasierra has been in custody in Madrid since Oct. 1 following clashes between the Spanish police and Marseille fans before the Group D game, which Atletico won 2-1.

The Spanish state prosecutor recommended an eight-year jail term on Thursday on charges of public order offences and assaulting a police officer.

Marseille and Atletico will meet at the Stade Velodome on Dec. 9 in their last group match and Gerets asked the fans to behave.

"We must answer on the pitch with a victory," Gerets told Marseille's website (www.om.net).

"It's the best way to hurt them. We should even applaud the Madrid fans, it would be the best way to punish them: applaud them and send them back home with a good defeat."

European soccer's governing body UEFA said failures in Atletico's organisation had prompted confrontations between the fans and police and initially ordered the Spanish club to play their next two European fixtures outside Madrid. The ban was later reduced to one match played without spectators.

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