OM 2-1 Vitoria: OM reverse the trendthu 19 Oct at 20:55
As against Salzburg, Rudi Garcia made a number of changes to his starting eleven compared to Marseille's last match against Strasbourg (3-3). Sarr, Abdennour, Evra, Kamara, Lopez, Germain, Gustavo and Ocampos (both of whom were suspended for the match in Alsace) were all in the team to face the Portuguese. It was the visitors who opened the hostilities with a header by Jubal that rebounded back (fortunately) off Mandanda's post. OM responded immediately through a header from Ocampos, which Silva managed to keep out with the tip of his glove. This early period of the encounter was all about strong heads, as it was with this part of the body, once again, that Martins deceived Mandanda from a cross by Heldon.
Rudi Garcia's men were quick to respond via an acrobatic volley by Ocampos, who was well-supplied by Sanson, he himself having been perfectly played in on the right by Sarr. The Argentinian's strike caught Guimaraes out with the help of a bounce. The Olympiens clearly had the upper hand over their opponents and enjoyed 71% of the possession in the first half. This superiority proved telling, producing several chances for Germain, Lopez and – from a corner – Abdennour. It's a pity none of these went in, as OM deserved to have more to show for their efforts at half time. Nevertheless, it was only a matter of time.
The second half began in much the same manner, though with fewer threatening chances. Germain missed the target from a corner then Evra came off to be replaced by Amavi, passing his captain's armband to Gustavo as he did so. Now pressing harder and harder, Marseille hit Silva's crossbar via a point blank shot from Ocampos. Germain also sent a header over the top 20 minutes from time. Finding themselves smothered, the Portuguese were no longer able to put anything together and simply tried their luck on the break, with the Marseille defence generally dealing well with their forays.
From a goal kick by Mandanda, Germain played Ocampos in, who then set Lopez up in the area. After controlling the ball, the midfielder placed a shot under the bar to give his team the advantage. As well as being an important goal for OM, this was also an important one for the player himself, who served his apprenticeship at the club and is currently lacking playing time.
Mandanda kept his side ahead with a double save, spreading himself wide in the style of a handball keeper to keep the ball out both times. In the final minutes of the match, Marseille sat back a bit too much, which gave the Vitoria players the chance to prove they were no slouches with the ball at their feet.
The score remained as it was, and the Olympiens recorded another vital win in the race for qualification. It was also an important win in the sense that it comes just three days before the visit of PSG.
Group I results in full
OM 2-1 Vitoria
Konyaspor 0-2 Salzburg
Group I standings
1/ Salzburg: 7 points
2/ OM: 6 points
3/ Konyaspor: 3 points
4/ Vitoria: 1 point