A late Steve Mandanda howler cost OM dearly at Le Stade Route de Lorient as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Rennes. Jordan Ayew’s late strike looked to have been enough to secure the 3 points, but a gaffe by the captain let in Romain Alessandrini to equalise. Overall, the game was a high tempo and exciting affair with not too much between either side. OM can certainly hold regrets though because they had the 3 points in their own hands, but literally let them slip through their gloves……
Early Rennes pressure, but OM strike first
Rennes were definitely the team who started the match more on the front foot. As early as the first minute Alessandrini put in a dangerous looking cross and OM struggled to settle. Around the 10 minute mark, Danze should’ve scored when he was well placed in the middle, but headed over following a scrumptious Alessandrini cross. Moments later, OM had their first real chance when Gignac fired not too far over on the half volley. Rennes continued their impressive start with Feret shooting just wide, and Alessandrini firing over when he probably should’ve done better.
The visitors managed to ride the early storm though and Rennes had failed to make the most of their chances. OM soon settled down and started passing the ball nicely around the park. Both sides were generally playing to a high level and there was some nice skill and interchanges on show for everyone to see. Despite this, there had been relatively few chances, but OM took the lead about 10 mins before HT. Feret gave the ball away in his own half and N’Koulou sent a superb ball through to Valbuena. He in turn provided a great assist for Andre Ayew to slid the ball home nicely. The Ghanaian should’ve doubled OMs advantage just before the break but he couldn’t get enough power on his shot. Had he scored, it would’ve been a superb team goal because the build up play to the chance was beautiful.
Yet more corner problems……
Rennes started the 2nd period similar to how they did the first – on the front foot. OM had Mevlut Erding to thank for missing two massive opportunities within a fairly short space of time, he should’ve done better. The first Mandanda saved with his foot and the 2nd was just a mishit. The pressure was being applied by the hosts and Alessandrini was their main threat on the left hand side. He was very influential in this match and gave OM problems all night. It was to be his assist which set up the Rennes equaliser, and unsurprisingly it came from a corner. OM had managed to avoid suffering from their achilles heel against Montpellier last week, but it came back to haunt them here when Theophile Catherine headed home unmarked.
It seems to become a regular weekly theme in OM match reports – conceding from set pieces, or more specifically corners. In this instance Jordan Ayew will carry some of the blame, but this corner business is becoming all too commonplace now. The whole team has to take responsibility in addition to the backroom staff. Something is clearly going very wrong when preparing against set pieces. I could go into detail again here, issues such as why was the man on the near post not always situated there? There’s too much to mention but crucially in this instance it got Rennes an easy way back into the game. What followed was an uncomfortable 10 minutes or so where Rennes had plenty of energy and looked dangerous. Again, Alessandrini was the man pulling the strings for the hosts, often putting in some superb crosses.
OM back ahead….but then Mandanda howler
To OMs credit though, they wrestled back the initiative and it was excellent to see Elie Baup clearly ‘going for the win’ instead of being happy with a draw. Amalfitano was brought on in place of Cheyrou, an attacking move which was to prove dividends eventually. Gignac had a shot go wide, Andre Ayew headed just past the post, and Jordan had a shot blocked close to goal. OM were pilling on the pressure and eventually Rennes would crack. Great vision by Valbuena found Amalfitano on the right who crossed into the middle. Jordan Ayew could hardly miss as he turned the ball home giving OM a crucial lead with only 8 mins left in the match.
That should’ve been enough to see OM pick up the 3 points, but there was to be late drama at Le Stade Route de Lorient. Diallo sent in a cross-shot which surprised Mandanda at his near post. The OM captain failed to hold the ball and it deflected against the woodwork – right into the path of Alessandrini who made no mistake turning the ball home. The visitors might’ve had a penalty late on for a foul on Gignac, but the referee wasn’t interested. Instead, Elie Baup’s men were forced to settle for just a draw, when this really should’ve been all 3. He has saved Marseille many times before, but sadly there can be no doubt that failure to win here was on Steve Mandanda’s head.
Goodbye Yann M’Vila
Finally, as a side note and completely nothing to do with anything OM. It was sad but also nice to see Yann M’Vila at the end of the match being paraded around in front of the Rennes fans to say goodbye. I know that he’s had a fractious relationship with the Rennes fans over the last year, so it was nice to see them give him a good send off here. He has been with the club since he was 14 years old and unfortunately this is a typical example of ligue 1 failing to hold onto its best players. M’Vila is an absolute beast in my opinion, and last year one of the best players in the ligue without doubt. It’s a shame for Ligue 1 to continually lose such great talent, he will be a fine asset for Rubin Kazan.
Player ratings and notes :-
Mandanda 3/10 – His mistake at the end cost OM bigtime, enough said.
Morel 4/10 – On the positive side, when going forwards he can be useful. Whilst he does do some good things at the back, the times when he makes mistakes can be costly.
N’Koulou 5/10 – Great pass to help set up the move leading to 1st goal. Defensively ok without being anything special
Mendes 4/10 – An improvement upon last week, but that was never going to be hard for him to achieve. I have my doubts about him at CDEF, he looks too raw and makes too many mistakes.
Fanni 5/10 – Made some good ventures going forwards. At the back he was adequate enough, although had problems with Alessandrini at times.
Barton 5/10 – Relatively quiet performance by him here, he kept things ticking along in midfield at times though.
Cheyrou 5/10 – Similar to Barton, kept things ticking along at times without being spectacular.
Valbuena 7/10 – OM’s best player here and grew as the match wore on. Supplied a great assist for the first and played a key part in the build up to the 2nd goal.
Andre Ayew 6/10 – Nice finish for the first goal, but should’ve scored more. He also made a couple of errors when defending set pieces.
Gignac 4/10 – Below par day for him. He missed chances and failed to look for a pass sometimes when instead was too greedy.
Jordan Ayew 5/10 – The positive is he scored again – but when placed more centrally as a striker. I’m convinced he just isn’t as effective as a right winger. His poor marking also cost OM a goal.
Amalfitano 6/10 -Came on as a sub for Cheyrou in the 72nd min and made a difference, supplied the assist for the 2nd goal.
Rennes player ratings :-
Kan Biyik 5/10
Theophile Catherine 6/10
Alessandrini 8/10 – Man of the match