Marseille maintained their 100% winning start this season thanks to a 3-1 victory at home to Rennes. A dominant 1st half performance was followed by a Rennes fightback after the break, but a superb Andre Pierre Gignac goal in the 84th minute proved to be the difference between the two teams. Overall, it was a deserved win for OM who continue their remarkable progress under new coach Elie Baup. Everyone can head into the international break feeling happy and with the knowledge that this is Marseille’s best start to a ligue campaign for nearly 80 years!
The main selection dilemma for Baup was whether or not to include Loic Remy in the starting XI. But because of his lack of match fitness, in addition to possible issues in the head following transfers talks, it was decided he’d be benched. New signing from Sedan, Kassim Abdallah made his debut for the club just a couple of days after officially joining. He slotted in at RDEF whilst Kabore switched to his favoured DMID role. Benched on Thursday night against Sheriff, both Valbuena and Gignac returned to the XI.
1st half dominance
It was a very dominant first half performance by OM. In many ways it was similar to the Sochaux display a couple of weeks ago, but this time Les Phoceens had a goal to show for their efforts. In just the 2nd minute, in-form striker Gignac fired a difficult volley just over the bar, it would’ve been a terrific technical goal had he managed to keep the effort down. In the 15th minute, Valbuena found himself all alone inside the area although had to stretch a bit. Benoit Costil made a superb save, it was a genuine world class stop to tip the ball over the bar. The pressure was being continually applied by OM and Rod Fanni missed a massive opportunity when he headed over when he was all alone just a few yard out.
The opener came in the 35th minute. Gignac crossed the ball dangerously across the face of goal, everyone missed it and Morel slid the ball home at the back post. It was not the easiest of chances and the left back did well to convert from where he was. The remainder of the 1st half passed by without major incident. Rennes had offered absolutely nothing and looked like a very poor team, certainly in the attacking department. The OM defence had hardly broken sweat, but Frederic Antonetti’s men are always a strange Jekyll and Hyde team who have the capabilities of turning around their performance, so OM had to remain vigilant.
The first chance after the break fell to Amalfitano who should have done better from close range but his shot hit a defender. Rennes responded well though following a probable half time roasting by Antonetti. Feret had a good chance to equalise and an effort flashed just wide of the post. Eventually they were to find a levelling goal, and it was an excellent strike that got them back into the match. Feret was the danger man and he smashed home a volley from an acute angle into the top corner of the net. Steve Mandanda was left surprised by the effort and left him little time to react. Credit where credit is due, this was a terrific goal.
What followed was a 20 minute period where there was a lull in proceedings. With the exception of a Gignac turn and shot wide, not much happened at either end. Rennes were back into the match and the game seemed to be in an equilibrium state. But I think everyone knew that OM would end strongly and apply pressure to their opponents. Loic Remy came on as a substitute in the 72nd minute and despite perhaps not having a good game by his standard, his influence on the field cant be underestimated.
Gignac special moment
His sheer presence gave Rennes something else to think about and OM dominated proceedings in the last 15 mins. But with time running out it looked like the hosts would perhaps have to settle for a draw and end their dream of winning 4 straight consecutive matches at the start of a campaign. A long ball was played forward, Remy tussled with the defence to force a poor clearance. Gignac took over and hit a gloriously sweet half volley over Costil and into the top right corner of the net. It was a truly special goal and sent the Velodrome into raptures.
OM should have made sure of the victory through Loic Remy, but he wasted two huge chances. This was a bit of a concern, however it must be said that he didn’t look that sharp or properly match fit, and he needs more time to regain his full potential. There was one moment of alarm when Steve Mandanda had to come out of his goal to clear, inviting a long range ambitious attempt from Rennes. But Rod Fanni made sure that any danger was thwarted by heading away close to goal. Before the final whistle was blown OM did add a 3rd right at the death thanks to a Romain Danze own goal. Rennes couldn’t really argue much about losing 3-1, it was a fair and accurate reflection of the match.
Overall, it was another excellent display by Elie Baup’s men. This team really is playing for each other and there is a fantastic spirit and camaraderie within the camp. You can clearly see that everyone is enjoying their football, and so they should be when results like these are occurring. The match will be remembered for Gignac’s wonder-strike though and the ex Toulouse man continues to be in top form. Thanks to him, OM lead the way at the top of Ligue 1 and sit proudly on 12 points.
These are very happy days for Le Phocéen, so lets enjoy the situation!
Player ratings :-
A Ayew 5/10
Jordan Ayew N/A
Referee (Olivier Thual) 8/10
Official OMarseilleUK Man of the match :-Gignac
Yet again he picks up a MOM accolade. This was a pretty obvious selection. He played excellently again and a performance topped off by scoring a match winning wonderstrike.
Other Ligue 1 Results
Lyon 3-2 Valenciennes
Bastia 0-3 Saint-Etienne
Brest 2-1 Troyes
Toulouse 1-1 Reims
Ajaccio 2-0 Evian
Lorient 3-0 Nancy
Sochaux 1-3 Montpellier
Bordeaux 1-1 Nice
Lille 1-2 PSG