Despite the fatigue of their European adventures in Istanbul and a tenacious opponent in the form of Evian TG, Olympique de Marseille dug deep to record a stunning sixth consecutive win at the start of the season to maintain their lead at the top…
Olympique Marseille 1-0 Evian
- 1-0 : AMALFITANO (33e)
Six victories to start the season! The new record set last weekend with the 1-0 win over Nancy was extended on Sunday with a narrow but deserved 1-0 win over Evian-TG. OM has never made such a perfect start to a Ligue 1 season with a maximum 18 points from six games. Purely in terms of the points, it’s enormous! And it confirms, if any further proof was necessary, that OM have hit the ground running this season and look like real leaders in a Stade Vélodrome that has rediscovered all its fervour.
What a sight it was when the exhausted warriors met the final whistle and went and saluted their supporters…
But there’s no shame in admitting that with all the matches and the efforts dispensed in Istanbul on Thursday, that OM didn’t have it all their own way against an organised and aggressive Evian side. Marseille had to dig deep. As well as the tried and true values of solidarity and commitment, the team relied on set pieces to make the breakthrough. The goal came from an Amalfitano header from a Valbuena free-kick on the half hour, because it was much more difficult to break down the ETG on Sunday at the Vélodrome.
OM made a bright, if cautious start, in an excellent atmosphere in the Vélodrome. Amalfitano was enterprising in midfield but OM still struggled in the final third. OM enjoyed more of the ball against a classic Evian 4-4-2 that left little space between the lines.
Mandanda makes decisive save
The first half noted the early substitution of the injured Abdallah, as well as an early Amalfitano header wide (19′) and a Valbuena volley (28′).
OM deservedly went ahead just after the half hour when Valbuena deposited the ball on Amalfitano’s head at the front post and he beat Andersen in the visitors’ goal (1-0, 33′). A set piece. Elie Baup has been underlining the importance of this potential solution in the last few days and he was vindicated.
Evian TG stayed organised, despite the one goal deficit and OM couldn’t find the keys to unlocking the game further. Towards the end of the first half, Evian finished on top with Sagbo’s effort from distance suggesting there was still everything to play for in the second period (45′).
And that was confirmed in the second 45 minutes, even if Cheyrou’s header from another free-kick, did flash just across the face of goal (47′). Marseille created little but Evian less as they found no way through the central defensive pairing of N’Koulou and Fanni. The only time that Sidney Govou and Co. found a way through, Mandanda was on hand to deny them – a great reflex save from Mensah’s close range header (81′). Amalfitano had one last chance in stoppage time (90+1′) but he’d already done enough as the final whistle went and OM pocketed another three points and they’re set for another full week of training on the back of a win.