Olympique de Marseille added to the misery of their former coach Marcelo Bielsa on Sunday as Morgan Sanson’s early goal secured a 1-0 win away to LOSC.
Looking to build on an encouraging display in drawing 2-2 with Paris Saint-Germain last weekend, Marseille were nevertheless deprived of the suspended Jordan Amavi and the injured Dimitri Payet as they headed to the far north. Patrice Evra and Sanson started as a result, as did Luiz Gustavo despite an energy-sapping return journey to Brazil during the week to attend his grandmother’s funeral.
Sanson has struggled to find his form this season but the former Montpellier Hérault SC midfielder opened the scoring just six minutes in at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy. Florian Thauvin’s free-kick from just outside the right-hand edge of the penalty area, close to the byline, was cut back for Sanson to fire home from eight yards for his third goal of the season.
Lille, already desperately short of confidence, now had to chase the game and they were frustrated time and time again by Steve Mandanda. The Marseille goalkeeper made saves from Anwar El Ghazi and Nicolas Pépé and then brilliantly kept out Ibrahim Amadou’s header from an El Ghazi free-kick to ensure the visitors held their lead into the break.
Mandanda was also relieved when El Ghazi’s deflected free-kick just missed the target early in the second half before Lille lost skipper Amadou to injury. There was to be no way back for Lille, and only a good stop by Mike Maignan prevented Luiz Gustavo from making it 2-0 from range late on.
Marseille finish October unbeaten in five games in all competitions, and four wins and two draws from their last six Ligue 1 Conforama matches allow Rudi Garcia’s side to end the weekend in fourth place. In stark contrast Lille remain second from bottom, now nine league games without a win and with just three goals scored in that run.
THE PLAYER: Steve Mandanda
Sanson’s early goal gave the visitors something to defend, but Mandanda – as so often down the years – was decisive for OM here with several vital saves in the first half in particular. This was Mandanda at his international-class best and his reward was a fourth clean sheet this season.
THE STAT: 21
The number of points Marseille have collected this season, their best total at this stage of a campaign since 2014-15. Then, under Bielsa, they were top at the same stage with 25 points, four points clear of PSG.