OM 1-3 Rennes: disastrous start for OM10 sep 2017
After the drubbing at Monaco prior to the international break, OM needed to redeem themselves in the eyes of the supporters who faithfully turned out on Sunday evening for the visit of Rennes for this fifth match of the Ligue 1 season. Payet returned to the team after recovering from injury, Sertic replaced the suspended Luiz Gustavo, and Abdennour got his first start in a Marseille shirt.
Unfortunately, things got off to a very bad start for Rudi Garcia and his men, with the team conceding a goal, just as they did in Monaco, in the second minute when Khazri cleverly back-heeled the ball into the net with his back to the goal… The Breton team then scored a second in the 10th minute. Bourigeaud managed to catch Mandanda out with a strike from long range. Were we about to witness another catastrophe like the 2015-16 OM-Rennes encounter? No, the Olympiens managed to stop hemorrhaging goals.
But as so often since the beginning of the season, OM struggled at the start and even in the whole first half, because, bolstered by their scoreboard advantage, the Rennes players simply waited for the Olympiens in their own half and played on the counter attack. With a little more technical accuracy and precision in the final touch, some of the resulting periods of play could have again ended up proving very costly for the Marseille players. The 4-4-2 formation adopted by Christian Gourcuff's men proved very difficult to break through. It needed a free kick played quickly by Payet to Germain to provide Marseille's first significant, and genuine, chance. But the attacker subsequently lost out in his one-on-one with Koubek. The Czech keeper also got a hand to a header from Sertic and deflected it away from goal, again following a free kick. The ref blew the whistle for half-time and the 22 protagonists went back to the dressing rooms to the sound of whistling from the crowd.
The Marseille players were more enterprising at the start of the second half. Sanson missed with a volley and Khazri ended up hitting the post after going on a solo run and taking on and getting the best of Rami. With Marseille lacking speed, acceleration, commitment in the one-on-ones and any final product, the fight back the supporters were hoping to see did not materialise over the course of the 45 minutes. Rennes increased the deficit even further after Gnagnon got on the end of a free kick taken by Bourigeaud. Zambo Anguissa had already come on at this point, and Rolando replaced Abdennour, who went off with an injured left thigh. Thauvin and Payet both had shots that missed the goal, and Sanson, stumbling past the last line of the Breton defence, finally saved face, with Payet providing him with a quality ball from deep. This reduction in the deficit was almost as meaningless as the penalty missed in the final minute by Mubele.
Having left the field to a cascade of boos and whistles at the end, the Olympiens, who are now 10th in Ligue 1, will need to get back on target when the Europa League starts up again against Konyaspor on Thursday.