Having played 3, won 3, Bielsa would hope for more of the same as his Marseille side flew to Italy to face a Bari who spent last season in Serie B, but should provide a different challenge to those of previous German and Dutch opposition.
Wed 29th July – 18:30
AS Bari 1-1 Marseille (Sabelli: Batshuayi)
San Nicola Stadium, Bari, Italy
Romao Nkoulou Morel
Lemina Payet Mendy
Thauvin Gignac Ayew
Subs: Samba, Dja Djedje, Mendes, Sparagna, Amalfitano, Cheyrou, Porsan-Clement, Batshuayi
Reverting back to a 3-1-3-3 formation, without Alessandrinni, Marseille started the game well. Both sides were evenly matched, creating half chances. OM did well to keep the ball and dominate possession, in a manner that we have become accustomed to under Bielsa.
The possession looked to have paid off as OM managed to get the ball in the net just on the stroke of half time. Gignac crept in behind the defensive line, dribbled to the box and slotted the ball past the keeper, only for the referee’s assistant to flag for offside from the initial through-ball. The decision looked harsh on initial viewing and subsequent replays too.
After half time, much of the same continued with the usual raft of changes taking place throughout the final 45 minutes.
All of OM’s hard work looked to have been in vain though as Bari won and converted a penalty in the 62nd minute after a Jeremy Morel foul. In fairness, it was a poor challenge and something he seemed to be eradicating from his game, but hopefully he can improve on this even further after having a solid pre-season so far.
Soon after, Nkoulou managed to head home from a Thauvin free-kick, only for the referee to disallow this goal for……?? To be honest, I’ve watched the incident back a number of times and still can’t work out why the goal didn’t count.
Thankfully it didn’t matter too much though as with 8 minutes remaining Batshuayi netted his 4th goal in 4 games after pouncing on a Bari defensive mistake. He intercepted a wayward pass, then rounded the ‘keeper and defender before confidently finishing, coining the phrase #Batshuagol
The game ended 1-1, and although OM should have won 3-1, there are many lessons that can be learned, and positives that can be taken as fans. First of all, Bielsa continued to search for an equaliser/ winner with OM playing 3-1-6 at times looking for a goal.
Pre-season pitch time (in minutes):
306: Dja Djedje
162: Batshuayi (Goal every 40.5 mins)
124: Amalfitano, Cheyrou
1: Payet, Amalfitano, Gignac, Imbula, Cheyrou
OG: Reinartz (Bayer04)
1: Amalfitano, Batshuayi, Thauvin, A. Ayew