Lille 0-1 OM: Important win on the road29 Oct 2017
A week after their best match of the season against PSG at the Orange Vélodrome, OM were this time on the road away to Lille. Except for two changes, Rudi Garcia kept faith in the team that achieved the draw against the Parisians. With Payet injured and Amavi with a one match suspension to serve, both changes were forced and unavoidable. Sanson and Evra were the ones who came in and played in their positions.
Marseille had the better of the opening, getting plenty of possession and exerting lots of pressure on Lille. From a penetrating run in on the right, Thauvin won a free kick, which he took himself after a quick discussion with Sanson. The two had worked out a play together, which proved to be just the ticket. The Orléans native found Sanson on the edge of the pack and the latter's shot proved too good for Maignan. After just six minutes of play, OM were now ahead on the scoreline, but they did not manage to extend their lead. The Olympiens even gradually began to lose control of the match; and without Mandanda on top form, 'Les Dogues' (The Great Danes – as Lille are nicknamed), might have gone back to the dressing rooms at half-time having scored at least one goal, with the Marseille keeper making six decisive saves from attempts by El Ghazi, Amadou and Pépé. Apart from a direct attempt from a corner by Thauvin, which got punched away by Maignan, Sanson's goal was the only chance Marseille had in the first half.
Sensing some jitteriness in the Marseille players, Marcelo Bielsa's team threw themselves into the attack in the second half. But conscious of the difficulty they were having keeping the ball, the Olympiens tightened their lines. Germain was brought on to take Mitroglou's place up front, and chances were fewer as the one-on-one duels became more frequent and more keenly contested, especially in midfield, where most of the action was taking place.
Germain just missed the target with one of his first touches on the ball, while Mendes saw his cross deflected towards Mandanda by Rami, with the goalkeeper managing to block and collect the ball. Rudi Garcia then decided to throw the young Kamara in at the Ligue 1 deep end as a substitute for Evra, who handed his captain's armband to Gustavo, who himself, with a few minutes remaining, attempted a long-range strike, which got turned away for a corner by Maignan. In what was a tense conclusion to the match, the Brazilian even managed to clear Lille's final chance of the game off the line.
Playing with great cohesion and solidity, the Marseille players fought hard for every ball to maintain their advantage on the scoreboard. They thus return from Lille with three precious points, avoid three draws in a row (3-3 in Strasbourg and 2-2 against PSG) and are now in fourth place, just one behind Lyon and three behind the Parisians.