Friendly: FC Sion 1-1 Marseille

8/7/12 – 20:10

Stade de Tourbillon, Sion

Att: 7,500

Marseille: Bracigliano – Azouni, N’Diaye, Mango, Morel – Abdullah, Cheyrou – Raspentino, Amalfitano, Gadi – Gignac

Subs: Aloe ’55, M’Bow ’85, Remy ’46, Omrani ’86, Jobello ’89, Diop ’75, Anani ’46, Ammari ’46, Sy NU, Osei NU

Goals: Remy ‘90

Marseille’s pre season preparations started with a 1-1 draw against Swiss side FC Sion. OM were weakened for this game with a lot of players missing for various reasons. The team that took to the field were generally 2nd best, but thanks to a superb late Loic Remy equaliser they managed to take something out of the game.
New OM coach Elie Baup hasn’t really had much time to get to know his players yet and this friendly came quite soon after him taking over at the helm. A total of 11 players were either on extended vacation or injured. Mandanda, Nkoulou, Mbia, Fanni, Azpi, Diawara, Kabore, Valbuena, Diarra and both of the Ayew’s all missed out and OM were left with just a handful of regular players. 
Braciglianio was in goal, ahead of him in defence was a very inexperienced backline. Morel at LDEF was the only recognisable face, joining him were Mango and N’Diaye at CDEF, also Azouni at RDEF. Baup opted to go with a midfield trio of Amalfitano, Cheyrou and youngster Rafine Abdullah. Upfront, Gignac started along with Gadi. Joining them was new boy signed from Nantes, Raspentino.
As you’d expect in the first pre season friendly, it was a very slow start and both teams looked rusty. Sion were overall the more likely to score, but nothing much was being created in terms of chances. Bracigliano had to be alert to push over a dangerous in-swinging free kick, but apart from that the custodian wasn’t tested. Out of nowhere Sion took the lead from a corner when poor marking allowed Iteperuna a free header at the back post which he duly converted. For the rest of the half, OM were clearly 2nd best and the biggest concern was that they offered very little going forwards.
At the interval Baup made 3 changes. Amani and Ammari both came on in addition to Loic Remy. Immediately, the French international made an impact by shooting dangerously from just outside the area, but the keeper made a good save. OM did start the 2nd half brightly, but lost their impetus and gradually Sion took over again. The home side didn’t create as much as they should’ve done, but had more possession and did posses a danger in the final third. It just seemed they lacked the final ball and a finishing touch.
OM’s young guns gave a fairly good account of themselves, but it did look as if they would lose here in Switzerland. Sion should’ve made it 2-0 with not long left on the clock but hit the post from a decent position. We were just waiting for the final whistle, but in stoppage time Loic Remy produced a moment of class to equalise. He sent a long range curling shot into the top left corner to ensure OM got their share of the spoils. From the moment he came on the field, Remy looked miles better than any other player and simply oozed class whenever he was on the ball. If OM can manage to keep him then he’ll be a valuable asset this season.
Overall this wasn’t a bad performance for just a runabout. Before the game Baup had said the main priority was just fitness and to get some game time. It was also an opportunity for some of the younger players to integrate into the side and to show off their abilities. For this weakened side not to have lost does generate some sort of momentum ahead of the next friendly match on Friday night against Benfica. That game will also take place at this stadium in Sion.

Match highlights and goals: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vN8yLYbNVnk

Steve (@MarseilleUK & @meatmansoccer)

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