OM 3-0 ASSE: Oh how I love you, OM!10 dec 2017
Some say it's a disadvantage as it puts on added pressure, others claim it's an advantage as you know the results of all the other teams. One thing's for sure, when it comes to playing last, OM is used to it. And in this case both Monaco the day before, and Lyon a few hours before, had won their games. The pressure, other than the one inherent to a reception at Saint-Étienne, was certainly present as before kick-off the Marseillais were three points behind their two opponents. Well aware of this, they commenced the match at full throttle like the Harley Davidson which took centre stage at the exit of the dressing room tunnel as a tribute to Johnny Hallyday, who passed away during the week. Facing a Saint-Étienne team in danger, Rudi Garcia's men denied their opponents possession. The first opportunity quickly arrived with a wide shot by Gustavo. Payet then alerted Ruffier with a curling free kick that no one blocked and that went in the direction of the net. The green goalie, surprised, beat the ball away to avert the danger. The third opportunity was the right one with a corner by Payet, diverted by a header by Thauvin towards the far post for Germain who scored at close range, giving him his first goal of the season in the Championship.
Pressure from the Marseillais didn't fall. Payet was close to doubling their lead with a header, but Ruffier thrust it away towards Germain, offside. Sanson, well-served by Lopez, got into a muddle and hit the ball with his weak foot. Germain, from a corner by Payet, saw his header saved by Ruffier, who was in high demand on this Sunday evening.
The Marseillais, who hadn't been able to score a second goal during the first half were determined to do so in the second half, and fast... On a solo run by Sanson towards the goal, Pierre-Gabriel, overtaking, committed a foul in the position of last man of the defence. The referee didn't hesitate and pulled out the red card. The free-kick taken by Payet brushed Ruffier's crossbar. With a numerical advantage, OM dominated possession less than with eleven against eleven, but the disorganised Greens struggled to form a dangerous offence. The Olympians still looked to make the game theirs. Germain, served by Payet, hit one of Saint-Étienne's goalposts. On the defence the Greens suffered, but minor mistakes in technique and some blunders prevented OM from scoring a second time. Thauvin hit Ruffier's other post just after the entrance of Ocampos. The white waves unfurled on Saint-Étienne's shots. Gustavo set up Thauvin on the right, and found Germain in the centre, who left Ruffier with no chance against his single shot strike. The Olympian striker, not happy with just scoring his first goal, scored a well-deserved second.
OM's Argentinian striker then put his team securely out of harm's way. After a good set-up from Amavi, he infiltrated the penalty area and hit a 'Thauvin-style' shot, but from the other side and with his right foot. Ruffier could do no more than brush against the ball. 3-0, the match was over and the Marseillais had had lots of opportunities. The flags could wave in the south end to salute a superb victory.
A victory which leaves OM with 35 points like Monaco and Lyon, 9 points behind Paris but eight points ahead of Nantes. The Olympians are going at the right pace!