Etiole Sportive du Sahel 1-5 Marseille
(Bounedjah pen.; Thauvin, Ocampos, Batshuayi 2, Boutobba)
1st half team: Mandanda (cap) – Aloé, Nkoulou, Rekik, Sane – Sparagna – Lemina, Thauvin – Nkoudou, Ocampos, Alessandrini.
2nd half team: Mandanda – Djadjédjé, Aloé (Tuiloma, 78), Sparagna (Andonian, 72), Sane (Dubois, 78) – Romao, Boutobba – Sarr, Barrada, Ocampos (Nkoudou, 72) – Batshuayi.
OM’s first friendly brought a comfortable win against Tunisian side Sahel, in Sousse. The relief of it being Bielsa who got to name the squad is huge amongst OM fans, and the worry over summer sales, questionable investment and delays in contract signing had most of us panicked!
As expected in any friendly Bielsa names a rather predictable squad for the first half, before making 9 changes for the 2nd half.
The pairing of new-boy Rekik and experienced Nkoulou seemed to work relatively well and kept the home side at bay, creating very little in the 1st half other than shots from distance. Warning signs are there early on though as Sahel managed to find a way in behind the OM defence as had been the case too often over the past few seasons. The man with perhaps the biggest shoes to fill, and the biggest point to prove (if he stays), opened the scoring for the visitors charging in to score after Alessandrini’s corner was only half cleared.
Shortly after the break, some neat work from Sarr on the right saw Ocampos continue where he left off at the end of last season as he neatly flicked the ball past the Sahel ‘keeper at the near post. Minutes later, Batshuayi showed his coolness, composure and confidence as he first held his position to spring the offside trap played by a high Sahel defensive line, then took the ball past the ‘keeper on the edge of the box, took past one defender and then slotted home.
Boutobba’s goal was far more straight forward as he reacted first to a saved shot and fired the ball into the roof of the net.
Sahel managed to give the full home crowd something to cheer about in the 83rd minute as they netted a rather dubious penalty. My knowledge isn’t as good as it could be, however, laying off the ball for someone else to score, is not a conventional way of taking penalties.
Bathsuayi’s second of the game also came from a nice through ball. As he closed in on the ‘keeper he cheekily lifted the ball over the approaching Jebali to give OM a convincing 5-1 victory.
On a side note, it was interesting to note that as far as we are aware neither Marseille nor the French foreign office advised against people travelling to Sousse for the game. This, of course, only a week or so after the British government advised people against flying to the area and were actively evacuating British nationals out of the area due to what they deemed to be an imminent terrorist attack.
Our thoughts and prayers of course go out to all of those affected by the incident in Sousse on 26th June.
Mandanda – 90
Aloe – 78
Sane – 78
Sparagna – 72
Ocampos – 72
Nkoudou – 63
Nkoulou – 45
Rekik – 45
Lemina – 45
Thauvin – 45
Alessandrini – 45
Dja Djedje – 45
Romao – 45
Boutobba – 45
Sarr – 45
Barrada – 45
Batshuayi – 45
Andonian – 18
Tuiloma – 12
Dubois – 12