Saint-Etienne - OM (2-2): OM pegged back with late goalfri 09 feb at 23:27
After the goal-fest that Rudi Garcia and his team enjoyed over the past week against Metz and Bourg-en-Bresse, OM faced a much sterner test away to Saint-Etienne on Friday night.
The trip to ‘The Cauldron’ is always one steeped in history for both sets of fans, and victory here would have put the team on a good footing as it enters a tough sequence of fixtures.
And OM started explosively - scoring after just four minutes. A speculative Hiroki Sakai ball found Florian Thauvin, whose sumptuous half-volley evaded Stephane Ruffier.
The visitors quickly found their rhythm with a number of silky attacking movements, but were soon pegged back when Kevin Monnet Paquet capitalised on a defensive error to steer past Steve Mandanda five minutes later.
OM, however, were unperturbed. And they were rewarded once more to good wing-play. Bouna Sarr's searching cross found Morgan Sanson, whose fierce strike on the volley ensured Ruffier had no luck.
Toward the end of the first half however, the hosts did push hard for an equalizer. Mandanda was forced off by injury just before the break, but OM went into the interval in the lead.
The second half was a tougher affair against a side growing in confidence. And finally, that broke through when Robert Beric headed in past Yohann Pele after a period of sustained defensive pressure.
There were chances to win it in time - but OM must make a point for their efforts. The club is still waiting for the score between Monaco and Angers later this weekend, but is safe in the knowledge that a podium place is secure for the following week.
Attention now turns to Europe, with SC Braga the visitors at the Velodrome on Thursday.