27/4/13 –16:00 (UK)
FC Lorient 0v1 Marseille
Stade du Moustoir, Lorient – Att 17395
Team: Mandanda – Fanni (57′ Abdallah) Nkoulou Mendes Morel – Cheyrou Romao – jAyew Valbuena 1 (83′ Barton) aAyew – Gignac (91′ Amalfitano)
Marseille kept the pressure on the other teams at the top end of Ligue 1 with a typically disciplined performance against Lorient, as a single goal again proved to be the difference between Marseille and their opponents.
During the opening exchanges Lorient closed down well, with both teams struggling to find any space in a tight midfield. While Monnet-Paquet was the Lorient target down their right, Valbuena provided the most threatening runs and delivery for OM, his free kick on 7 minutes forcing Audard to push the ball round the post. OM’s next chance fell to ex-Lorient man Romao. Neat play down the left between Andre Ayew and Valbuena resulted in Romao dragging a half volley just wide of Audard’s near post.
The game could have changed on 20 minutes when Lucas Mendes cleared off the goal line to keep Mandanda’s clean sheet record intact. Baca broke into the box and shot from a tight angle at Mandanda, as the ball looped up off Mandanda, Mendes managed to volley the ball out of danger before the ball crossed the line.
The incident seemed to spark OM into life, who despite dominating possession had not threatened Audard too greatly. As the game opened up both teams enjoyed more space. Cheyrou played the ball into some of this space on the left for Gignac, who immediately played in Andre Ayew. Ayew’s shot was right at Audard and as the ball bounced out of the box, Valbuena was first to it and shot past the covering defenders for his 5th goal of the season.
After another Lorient break against Morel, Lorient this time did manage to get the ball past Mandanda. The resulting corner from Monnet-Paquet’s run was drilled in to Aliadière. As the ball was returned to Jouffre he cut inside and drilled a powerful shot past Mandanda. Fortunately for the OM defenders the assistant correctly judged that Jouffre had picked the ball up in an offside position.
As half time approached Lorient were beginning to look like the team likeliest to score next. Les Merlus players coped better with the artificial surface and continually pressed the OM team into making mistakes, Gignac and Valbuena were both caught in possession on the half way line leading to Lorient breaks forward.
For the majority of the second half both teams struggled to create any clear chances. Lorient continued to try and exploit Morel’s ‘weakness’ through Monnet-Paquet but consistent poor deliveries into the box meant the Lorient strikers rarely showed any danger of ending Mandanda’s clean sheet streak.
With the enforced substitution of Rod Fanni due to a knock, Lorient began to target the Marseille right more than they had been. Clearly seeing Abdallah as a weaker player than Morel. Their probing down the OM right almost paid off too as Auret struck a rasping shot off Mandanda’s cross bar.
Perhaps unsurprisingly Elie Baup decided to shut up shop and play rather defensively in the final stages of the game. The introduction of Barton for Valbuena left OM playing almost 4-5-1 when defending. As a result Lorient were restricted to shots from distance that never really troubled Mandanda.
As the game drew to a close the game became rather heated. First of all Gignac was clipped and pushed in the face. His protests about the challenges resulted in a booking for him as he was stretchered off the pitch and also a booking for Gassama and Jordan Ayew. Minutes later Barton was booked for a trip on Sunu, just before the full time whistle. The card action didn’t end there though as a scuffling Audard and Andre Ayew were both red carded after full time to put a slight damping on another solid win.
Confirmation is awaited on the severity of Fanni’s injury, but initial reports expect him to be out for 7-10 days, making it likely that he will sit out next week’s game against Bastia along with Andre Ayew.
This was another great win for Marseille against a Lorient team who had only been beaten once at home before this game and had averaged 2 goals a game at home too.
Tough to give a man of the match for this team effort. Special mentions must go to Mandanda who kept up a stunning record of clean sheets, pulling off a number of superb saves in the process. Much maligned Jeremy Morel also played well, and despite being beaten on some occasions by Monnet-Paquet managed to put enough pressure on him to ensure there was rarely a good cross delivered from the right.
Reaction from Steve Mandanda: “I hope this is the victory that will ensure our place in the top three. This is a very important weekend and a very important victory, because Lille lost points at home and there is also a direct confrontation between Lyon and Saint-Étienne. We continued on our way, it was a very important win tonight. We won by our favourite score, 1-0, and in the end, it’s three points, like any other win. With four or five games to go we will not play like Barcelona. We play how we know how to, with the goal of taking three points.” (From ligue1.com)
Lille 3v3 Sochaux
Brest 0v2 Rennes
Valenciennes 0v0 Nancy
Bastia 0v0 Toulouse
Ajaccio 2v1 Montpellier
Bordeaux 0v0 Reims
Lyon 1v1 Saint-Etienne
Nice 3v1 Troyes
Evian 0v1 psg
Allez l’OM (@Andrew_js3 & @MarseilleUK)