After last week’s upsetting loss to Lyon in “The Olympico”, Marseille looked to jump back on the winning horse and run away against their next opponent, Brest. And to the delight of the fans at the Stade Velodrome, OM didn’t disappoint.
Just minutes into the match, both teams had chances on goal. Jordan Ayew was brought down in the box, which brought a number of calls from the fans demanding a penalty kick, and rightfully so. Just one minute later, Brest’s Nolan Roux made a break on goal, beating goalkeeper Steve Mandanda. Who came out of his net to challenge Roux, but was unable to catch the ball as it headed toward an empty Marseille net. This would be Brest’s only quality chance throughout the match.
It didn’t take long for OM to score. In the 12th minute, Benoit Cheyrou connected a precision lead pass to a breaking Loic Remy who was able to pass the Brest defense and find the goal with a low shot on Steeve Elana, giving Marseille the 1-0 lead.
Just two minutes after the Marseille goal, Brest suffered a blow as defender Ahmed Kantari seemed to suffer an ankle injury. Moise Brou Apanga came into the match to replace the injured Kantari. There were reports during the match that Kantari would miss the rest of the season.
During the first thirty minutes of the match, Marseille looked like a different team than they did against Lyon. During “The Olympico” it took OM a while to warm up (with the exception of a disallowed OM goal by Loic Remy due to poor officiating). But against Brest, Marseille were able to push the ball along both flanks and add pressure in box. While Brest did have a couple of chances, none of them were a problem for they OM defense, which dominated.
Marseille would continue to dominate the first half, putting the pressure on the Brest defense which was unable to convert any counter attack attempts.
Going into the half, Loic Remy stated “that we know that we need to score our second goal as soon as possible,” continuing that he felt that Brest will do all they can to tie the game in the second half.
Marseille didn’t let up in the second half either. With the exception of a few weak chances, Brest looked far from impressive as OM put on the offensive pressure. And in the 59th minute, Jordan Ayew scored the second goal for Marseille. Breaking one-on-one with defender Moise Brou Apanga, Ayew chipped a lob shot towards goal, which deflected off of Brou Apanga’s foot and over the head of Steeve Elana, extending Marseille’s lead.
Just minutes later, Jordan Ayew broke on goal yet again and almost made the score 3-0, but his attempt breezed just wide of the goal. In the closing minutes of the match, Marseille switched to a more defensive strategy, but were still able to catch Brest off guard with a number of dangerous counter attacks, which lead to a few quality corner and free kicks.
Marseille would eventually get that third goal off the foot of Gaby Heinze, who rifled one of those free kicks from eighteen yards out and beat Elana down low.
Brest never showed that they wanted to win this match. Even with visible frustration being shown on the face of Nolan Roux, he and his teammates were ineffective when bringing the ball up the pitch. In addition, none of the chances on goal for Brest gave Steve Mandanda any worries, with the exception of the Roux breakaway in the opening minutes.
After the match, Didier Deschamps stated he was impressed with the opening minutes for OM. “We did what we had to do in the first fifteen minutes, but we eventually lost our way and gave the ball away. But the second half was better. It was good for us to react this way after the loss to Lyon,” said Deschamps.
When asked about the possibility of still winning the Ligue 1 championship, Deschamps remained positive, yet realistic. “There is still a hope for the title, but it is obvious that we don’t have as much hope as before. Lille made a strong statement against St. Etienne yesterday.”
Deschamps also reacted to the boos coming down from the crowd directed toward Andre-Pierre Gignac when he came onto the pitch to replace Loic Remy. “It annoys me to see the way the crowd reacted to [Gignac]. If you boo him, do it to me and the team and not just point out one player.”