Barton Brilliance Brings A Close To Brest Curse
Joey Barton assisted 2 goals to help Marseille on their way to their first ever victory in Brest. Only days after a humiliating performance and result against Lyon, OM overcame history and form to take all 3 points back to the south coast from Brittany.
Early in the game it looked as though Marseille had decided to play in the same manner they did in the Olympico. Brest applied a great deal of the pressure in the opening 10 minutes, with 1st of all Barton giving away a cheap foul and then Nkoulou, who was booked, giving away a set-piece near Mandanda’s goal as OM tried to get a grip on the game.
Inside the rest of the opening 30 minutes, Marseille gradually improved. Amalfitano went close frist with a header, before Andre Ayew finished a neat one-two with his brother by curling a shot narrowly wide of Thebaux’s upright.
On 33 minutes a moment of genius saw Brest concede only their 4th goal at home this season. Barton found himself in space down in the left, cut a neat ball back to Diawara who thundered a shot home from the edge of the 18 yard box.
Very little changed in the rest of the first half, OM continued to dominate, and Thebeaux did his best to re-enact Elana’s heroics from the fixture last season. But, 5 minutes before half-time Marseille managed to concede from Brest’s first real attack on goal, from a set-piece, again! From a Brest corner, the original strike on goal was cleared on the line before Benschop headed home in front of the Brest ultras. To go in drawing at half-time was very unfair on OM, who had eradicated any fear of performing as weakly they did earlier this week.
As the second half began, Brest looked to push on a get a winner, with Licka and Benschop again going close. However, 10 minutes in, OM gained the upper hand again. Again the goal came from some neat OM interplay and again it was Barton who provided the assist. After winning the ball, Barton played a neat one-two with Valbuena, and from almost the same position he found himself in for OM’s first goal, he crossed for Andre Ayew to net past Thebaux. Remember, Brest had only conceded 3 goals in 8 games at home before this. Dede searching immediately to celebrate with his provider Barton was a particularly poignant moment and demonstrated just what sort of impact personally and professionally Barton has had on his fellow Olympians.
The remainder of the second half was fairly entertaining, from a neutrals point of view, with both teams looking for another goal, OM to kill off the game and Brest to preserve their home record. Brest looked particularly dangerous in the minutes up to, and including, time added on, and OM can thank Mandanda for some fine saves, and the referee for waving away a penalty appeal by Chafni (how’s that for a paradox of last year’s game?!)
Not only was this win important for team morale, after the Olympico, it also puts to rest one of Marseille’s ‘hoodoo’ grounds, shame we have to wait until next season to try again at Bordeaux. The negatives in the team and individual performances from Wedenesday were put to rest, with Diawara grabbing a goal and Barton dominant defensively and outstanding offensively.
MarseilleUK Man of the Match: Joey Barton. 2 fantastic Ligue 1 performances out of 3 now for the Englishman, but his contribution in everything Marseille did today couldn’t be rivalled by any Olympian on the pitch. His vision for finsing space for himself and for team mates, was perfectly demonstrated in the 2 goals Marseille scored today. Make no mistake, if Barton didn’t play today, Marseille would not have won.
Full report and links to goals and highlights to follow.
Swanny (@MarseilleUK @Andrew_Js3)