Sochaux So Close To Punishing Marseille
A late Gignac penalty saved OM’s blushes as they struggled to brush aside a disciplined and determined Sochaux team who performed far better than they form or ligue position would suggest.
The start was about as good as Marseille could have hoped for. Playing adventurous football, Abdallah and Mendy pushing forwards and it was the latter who set up the games opening goal. Finding space down the left Mendy crossed after cutting back, Thauvin found a yard of space after losing his marker and planted his header back to the front post. Ecstatic, the youngster who has really found his form in the last few games paraded a ‘joyeux anniversaire PAPA’ poster during his celebrations.
The reminader of the first half was fairly even. Valbuena linking up well with Thauvin and Payet, but often to no avail as Jordan Ayew failed to make his presence felt as the lone striker. Sochaux also had a few half chances to test Mandanda as they managed to get in behind the OM defence, but good covering from Diawara foiled them twice.
Marseille should have made it 2 within 10 minutes of the restart as Jordan Ayew almost capitalised on a Sochaux defnsive blunder left him one on one with Pouplin. Unfoirtunately, he lost his composure, took a touch too many and the Sochaux covering defender tackled with relative ease to block his shot. A chorus of boos rang out around the Velodrome after that, as it appears the majority of OM fans are starting to get fed up with Ayew’s lacklustre performances.
OM paid the price for this minutes later as Mayuka picked up the ball wide on the right after Mendy misjudged a simple header from a Pouplin clearance. Once Mayuka was on the ball he skipped past Diawara, Nkoulou, a reovering Mendy and then Cheyrou befor unleashing an awesome shot that flew past Mandanda into the far corner.
After removing the tired Valbuena for Imbula, it looked like Baup was aiming to hold out for another draw in the ligue and avoid defeat or a win. On 80 minutes though he brought on Gignac for Ayew (again to a chorus of boos).
It was at the other end that the action almost happened though as Romao appeared to trip Mayuka in the box before clearing the OM lines. Sochaux were understandably annoyed at not picking up a penalty but OM pushed further. From the break, Gignac took a shot at goal but his shot was blocked by Peybernes but bounced up and hit his arm. AFter some debate the referee controversially awarded OM the penalty, which Gignac confidently netted.
The rest of the game was fairly even with OM barely looking to extend their lead and Sochaux struggling to create anything clear.
Far from a comfortable victory for OM, but a much needed 3 points for Elie Baup ahead of the international break. OM go into the break in 5th place and face Ajaccio next before Arsenal ahead of the players strike.
Tops: Mendy, Thauvin
Full report and highlights to follow.
(@aswanny84 & @marseilleUK)