OM 3-0 Dijon | Starting the season with a win06 Aug 2017
Following an unbeaten summer season of friendlies, Olympique Marseille once again tasted competitive football by securing qualification for the play-off round of the Europa League (following their win over KV Ostende, OM will meet the Slovenian team, NK Domzale in the next round). On Sunday evening, with the resumption of play in the domestic league (where Olympique have not lost since March 1st, 2017), Rudi Garcia's men had to overcome the challenge of Dijon. The team from Burgundy, meanwhile, had not lost at the Vélodrome in two encounters with Olympique, promising a match that the Marseilles side would need to take seriously just three days after playing away in Belgium. Nevertheless, Olympique's manager decided to field virtually the same starting eleven. The only notable changes were the return of Florian Thauvin and Patrice Evra, replacing Lucas Ocampos and Tomas Hubocan.
The match got off to a weak start with both teams attempting to get the measure of the other. However, hostilities commenced in earnest when the Burgundy side threatened the Marseilles defence on three occasions, in the 3rd, 16th, and 17th minutes. Olympique, however, was able to find an answer, with Sanson's header from the edge of the box being deflected to a corner by Reynet in the 19th minute. Dall'Oglio's men had plenty to say for themselves, and they were the stronger side at the start of the match. Olympique can still look back on a few missed opportunities, however, particularly when Lopez's cross was met with a hand ball by a Dijon defender in the penalty box. The referee could have blown the whistle for a penalty. It was all in vain. A final free kick by Thauvin was blocked by Reynet in the third minute of injury time. The half-time whistle blew on a goalless first half, ending 0-0.
Once the players had returned from the changing rooms, Garcia replaced Payet with Njie. The coaching paid off because, five minutes after the break, the Cameroonian striker opened the score with a stylish, diving header following a cross from Germain (50'). The Olympique side was reinvigorated by the goal, completely ending their restraint. Four minutes later, Thauvin doubled down on with a solo effort. He made it past Reynet, whom he wrong-footed to make it 2-0 after 54 minutes. After that, the match became much more straightforward for OM, who managed to contain the opposition's attacks, meeting them with several counter-attacks. During one of these counter-attacks, Njie - decidedly on form in this early stage of the season - took advantage to make it a double with an impressive nutmeg against Balmond, followed by a lob over the Burgundy side's keeper to make it 3-0 (72'). Three-nil and the match was in the bag.
This was OM's biggest winning margin for an opening match at home since 2004. With this clear victory over Dijon, their old demons have been vanquished. The season is now underway at full pelt.