04/05/13 – 16:00 (UK)
Marseille 2-1 Bastia
Stade Velodrome, Marseille – Att. 35,687
Team: Mandanda – Abdallah, Nkoulou, Mendes, Morel – Barton, Romao – Amalfitano (’62 Sougou), Valbuena, J. Ayew (’85 Kadir) – Gignac 2
A much changed Marseille squad managed another win to make sure psg can’t mathematically win the ligue this weekend, and give themselves every chance of securing champions league football next week. Two goals from Gignac gave Marseille the 2-1 win in a game that was surprisingly one sided, in favour of OM.
After a lively opening 10 minutes with half chances for both sides it was Gignac who opened the scoring, excellently netting for his 12th of the season.
An excellent run from Jordan Ayew, brought him infield where he played in Valbuena. Gignac had already found some space on the right and as Valbuena played him in, and Gignac cut inside onto his left foot and curled the ball into the far post past Landreau. The goal was typical, trademark Gignac, hanging on the line of the last defender in an off-centre position before cutting inside and shooting.
Immediately after the goal Marseille, perhaps uncharacteristicly, threatened a number of times, firstly Gignac was flagged offside when one-on-one with Landreau, before a Lucas Mendes header connected with the cross bar.
For the remainder of the half Bastia failed to threaten Mandanda’s clean sheet streak, with only a poor header from ex-OM man Maoulida and a speculative volley from Modeste coming close. The game should have been well beyond Bastia by half time though, as Gignac still had time to fire a volley of the bar before half time.
Immediately after half time it looked like Marseille might live to regret those missed opportunities as Bastia equalised within 50 seconds. Mandanda was beaten by Thauvin after breaking through the middle and unleashing a superb strike from 25 yards that just evaded the hands of Mandanda as it flew into the far corner. As good as the goal was to end Mandanda’s clean sheet streak, which lasted almost 700 minutes, questions have to be asked of Mendes who backed off and Romao who looked rather sluggish when tracking back.
After yet more wasted chances from Amalfitano, who shot straight at Landreau from close-range, and Jordan Ayew who couldn’t direct a header on target, Marseille were nearly punished again. Former player Maoulida had the ball past Mandanda, only to have his goal correctly ruled out for offside.
The introduction of Sogou for Amalfitano gave OM a little more pace in attack. He almost netted within minutes as Valbuena played him through, and although his shot had the beating of Landreau, Palmeieri managed to get in the way to divert the ball for a corner.
With Bastia looking to play out for a draw and happy to run down the clock, Gignac struck again with another excellent goal. As OM broke down field following a Bastia corner, Valbuena picked out Gignac on the right wing. As Gignac powered into the box and past the covering Palmeieri he struck a well-placed shot into the far corner past Landreau, to score his 13th of the season.
The win means that Marseille are guaranteed to finish next weekend in 2nd place and only need 2 more points 2 guarentee finishing ahead of Saint-Etienne. The win was even sweeter as it meant psg couldn’t win the ligue title at home this weekend and came with 3 major changes to the starting 11. Elie Baup should have a full choice squad available for the visit of Toulouse next week, and Gignac will hope to continue his good form with a goal or two against his former club.
Man of the match – Valbuena. 2 assists from the little guy and a constant threat when on the ball. One of the most comfortable games he’s had in recent weeks, helping the team break by acting as an effective link between the defence and attack. Could also have assisted a few more goals if jAyew and Sougou had managed to convert their chances too.
Elie Baup: ‘We would have preferred not to have conceded early in the 2nd half, but we showed our intentions from the outset, creating a lot of scoring chances and the fans were treated to a good match. We have never spoken about the title as Paris have had it reserved for a very long time.’
Allez l’OM (Swanny @MarseilleUK & @Andrew_Js3)