OM 2-2 PSG: so close to pulling it off!22 Oct 2017
The thrashing OM received last February left its mark, though in a positive sense. Nobody, not even newcomers who hadn't see that match, wanted to go through an evening like that one again. So right from the whistle, the Olympiens put all the ingredients in place to make life difficult for the Parisians. Pressurising the man in possession; movement; speed; a compact, flowing formation; effectiveness and impact; strategies for regaining possession, and all cheered and driven on by the crowd, who were really up for the big occasion. The Marseille players were more than able to hold their own in this headline match in the French top tier. .And for big occasions, you need top players. Luiz Gustavo is just such a player. The Brazilian international and Champions League winner demonstrated the full range of his talents, and not just in the man-on-man contests and when retrieving possession – areas of the game you'd expect him to excel at. The former Bayern Munich player had his shooting boots on too, and, as in Nice, he was again on target with a long-range strike. Areola could do nothing to stop the missile launched by the Marseille midfielder, which ended up in the back of the net and immediately caused the Orange Vélodrome stadium to erupt.
Rudi Garcia's men continued to play in the same manner, trying always to be in the right position, marking each zone well, and restricting the Parisians' space. In their frustration, however, the players from the capital began passing the ball more quickly and playing more one-twos and triangles, etc. It was at the end of one of these moves that Neymar equalised, sending the ball on an impossible trajectory that finished with it crossing the line, helped by the post. After this goal, the Marseille players found themselves struggling under pressure, though there were few chances created. It was the same again in the second half, with the one-on-one challenges hotly contested. Most of the battle took place in the midfield area of the pitch. You could count the number of incursions into the two goal areas on the fingers of one hand.
Having played in the Europa League on Thursday, the Marseille players slowly began to show signs of fatigue. But team solidarity was the name of the day on Sunday evening in Marseille. The Olympiens were battling hard for each other, and Rudi Garcia brought on some fresh legs in the shape of Sanson and N'Jie. The Cameroon player was fighting for every ball. And at the end of a one-on-one contest with Rabiot, which he refused to give up, he played in a cross and Thauvin cut it in at the near post to give OM the advantage. The volcano that is the Orange Vélodrome erupted into such noise that they must have been able to hear it at the other end of the Bouches-du-Rhône department!
The Parisians ended the match with ten men due to Neymar getting sent off. The Brazilian received two yellow cards in the space of two minutes and four seconds. But even with a numerical disadvantage, they managed, in injury time, to level the score again, with Cavani scoring from a free kick awarded for a foul committed by Sarr. OM were within seconds of pulling off the victory, but in the end the Parisians and the Marseille players had to be content with a point for a draw. The Olympiens, however, put in a great performance, and proved that when they put the right ingredients together, they are a match for any team.
This is something for them to capitalise on in the future.