Marseille Claw Back Draw

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar August 27, 2018 10:31

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Marseille Claw Back Draw

By Satish Sekar at the Stade Vélodrome © Satish Sekar (August 27th 2018)

Jeers and Cheers

Olympique de Marseille defied the odds to claim a 2-2 draw against Sabri Lamouche’s Stade Rennes last night, but it seemed a defeat. Trailing 2-0 at half time to a Benjamin Bourigeaud penalty after 38 minutes and an added time Ismaïla Saar tap-in after a calamitous error by Yohann Pelé, deputising for the injured Steve Mandanda, Rudi Garcia’s team left the pitch to jeers at half time.

The jeers turned to cheers at full time as Marseille clawed their way back into the match to claim a draw, thanks to Lucas Ocampos bundling in an unfortunate rebound after 54 minutes, and Rami Bensebaini inexplicably heading Ocampos’ cross from the left into his own net after 72. It may have brushed substitute Konstantinos Mitroglu’s head on its way through, but the look on Bensebaini’s face told the story – he knew it was his error.

Error Strewn

But the catastrophic defending was not confined to Rennes. Both their goals came from bad errors. James Léa-Siliki evaded a crude challenge just before World Cup winner Adil Rami conceded a penalty by upending Ismaila Saar. Despite ‘token’ protests referee Antony Gautier pointed to the spot. Bourigeaud sent Pelé the wrong way, giving Rennes a shock lead at the Vélodrome. Shock turned to anger when Bensebaini’s speculative cross cum shot from the left wing was badly fumbled by Pelé into Saar’s path. The Senegalese striker could hardly believe his luck or spurn such an opportunity.

Less than ten minutes into the second half short corner routine resulted in former West Ham favourite, Dmitri Payet, crossing for Luiz Gustavo to head it against Tomas Koulek’s right-hand post. It rebounded off the unfortunate keeper to Ocampos, who bundled it in for the only goal of the match that did not involve an error.

There were however errors that were not punished. Early in the first half Hamri Traoré passed a hopeful punt up-field back to da Silva. With no danger at all, da Silva put it out for a corner.

Niggling

And then there were niggling fouls, which went unpunished at first. Léa-Siliki was caught from behind by Boubacar Kamara inside of 15 minutes – it could and perhaps should have been a yellow card, and that would soon have dire consequences. It wasn’t the last ‘rough treatment’ the 22-year-old French forward suffered. Seven minutes the same combination resulted in the deserved card for Kamara after a mistimed challenge – a lunge for the ball actually – upended Saar.

But despite the ugly, there was also the beautiful. A lovely pass by Clément Grenier put Saar through on the left, but he curled his shot over. Two minutes later Saar was penalised for fouling Payet – Lamouchi was perplexed to get a talking to from Gautier after it.

Fine Margins

Two minutes after Ocampos halved the deficit, Valère Germaine wanted a penalty for a challenge by Damien da Silva, but Gautier was not interested. A corner was all the disgruntled Germain was given after Gautier checked, and found his original decision was correct. Payet’s corner was headed onto the post by Rami with Koubek beaten. Not to be outdone Rennes struck the woodwork a couple of minutes later through Léa-Siliki’s header.

Five minutes later Mitroglu replaced Germain. Mitroglu soon had the ball in the net, but Ocampos was offside when he received the ball for what would otherwise have been an assist. Luiz Gustavo escaped a card for a block on Léa-Siliki, and with less than ten minutes of normal time remaining Benjamin André was yellow carded when his high boot caught Luiz Gustavo in the head. It ended 2-2, leaving both teams on 4 points – Marseille in 9th place and Rennes in 13th.

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar August 27, 2018 10:31