Marseille 1v0 Brest
Stade Velodrome, Marseille – Att. 33,316
Team: Mandanda – Fanni, Nkoulou, Mendes, Morel – Cheyrou 1 (’88 Barton), Romao – J. Ayew, Valbuena (’90 Kadir), A. Ayew – Gignac (’83 Sougou)
Marseille managed to keep a clean sheet for the 6th game in a row, won 1-0 for the 10th time this season and stretched their unbeaten run to 7 games to ensure they finish the weekend in 2nd place. A lone Cheyrou goal made sure that Marseille are in the driving seat for Champions League football next season as they head into the last 5 games of the season.
As expected Brest started the game well, keeping possession of the ball and restricting Marseille’s forward play. After 10 minutes though OM began to press a great deal harder, particularly in the final 3rd, putting the Brest defenders under pressure, encouraging mistakes and winning a few corners and free kicks. Marseille were still not threatening the Brest goal too often, Andre Ayew coming closest with a couple of headers.
As we have come to expect, OM hardly set the world alight with much of their play for the rest of the first half. Mendy managed well in the Brest defence, though they struggled to play in Benschop, Raspentino’s long ball rarely finding the lone striker.
A positive moment from Romao changed the outlook for OM though, as he ventured forward for possibly the first time. After taking the ball round 3 Brest players he was eventually felled by Coulibaly. Contact was minimal between the players, but Romao ensured referee Benoit Bastien gave a free kick. After booking Coulibaly, the referee allowed Cheyrou to take the kick from 25 yards. He lifted the ball past the 4 man wall and it beat Thebaux via the near post.
Just as in the first half, Brest started the better side. Within minutes Benschop had tested Mandanda from distance. Having coped with the initial attack from Brest, Marseille once again found their footing. Andre Ayew created a few chances, Valbuena also. Jordan Ayew continued with his inconsistent form with some good chances, including a late deflected shot coupled with a header on goal that almost hit the corner flag.
On 70 minutes Marseille had the ball in the goal again, Valbuena’s delivery from a free kick was met with the head of Lucas Mendes who thought he had grabbed his first goal, only for it to be ruled out for offside.
With some Brest substitutions, OM loan man Rapentino was brought into a central position where he began to create problems. He continued to show good ball control and vision, though he was often let down by his team mates.
For the final 10 minutes Brest pushed for an equaliser, and OM sat deeper and deeper. Although this meant that OM had little to offer going forward, it helped to protect Mandanda who only had a few shots to deal with as SB29 failed to create many clear cut chances.
As the full time whistle blew, the relief was clear for all to see. Another clinical and perhaps ugly 1-0 win, but given the pressure that that late Lyon win had put on Marseille, we have to be happy to finish the weekend in 2nd.
Man of the match – Benoit Cheyrou.
Cheyrou has continued to show his quality since returning from injury and the first half today was no different. An industrious performance that culminated with an excellent goal. Although he tired into the 2nd half before his substitution, his contribution to the team cannot be ignored.
Special mentioned for a solid Lucas Mendes and Steve Mandanda.
Elie Baup: ‘This is not the first 1-0 and I don’t think it will be our last. We struggled in the game, but as we won 1-0, it’s still good. We have made progress, compared to the beginning of the season, we are better in these situations’. (OM.net)
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Swanny (Andrew_js3 & @MarseilleUK)