Lucas Ocampos (10′) and Kostas Mitroglou (79′) were on target as Olympique de Marseille earned a 2-1 win over Toulouse FC at the Stadium Municipal on Sunday night.
Toulouse FC 1-2 Olympique de Marseille
Marseille began the day in third, 14 places and 27 places better off than their relegation-threatened hosts and took the lead inside ten minutes when Ocampos turned home from close range following a Maxime Lopez free-kick (10′). It looked like Toulouse were going to be in for a long evening when Luiz Gustavo forced a fine reaction save from talented teenaged TFC goalkeeper Alban Lafont (15′) before Valère Germain flashed a volley narrowly wide (18′), but Mickaël Debève’s men found themselves back on level terms soon after, with Firmin Mubele stealing in behind Hiroki Sakai to poke Issiaga Sylla’s cross beyond Lafont’s opposite number, Steve Mandanda (19′). Le Téfécé could even have carried a lead into the interval with Yaya Sanogo hitting the joint of the OM goal (33′) and Max-Alain Gradel forcing a good save from Mandanda with a powerful free-kick (38′) but Marseille held on and the sides went in for their half-time oranges with the honours even.
Toulouse started the second half as they had ended the first: the brighter of them two sides, and Sanogo was unlucky to see Mandanda turn another effort around the post having met Giannelli Imbula’s cross ahead of Rolando (47′). The former Arsenal man was denied again just past the hour when Mandanda stopped another shot with his foot (62′). Mandanda had barely recovered from that scare when he was called into action to thwart Imbula from metres out (63′). As Toulouse’s legs began to tire there were chances at the other end, though. Lafont pulled off a terrific double save to deny Germain and Gustavo in quick succession (74′), but there was nothing he could do about Mitroglou’s strike, with the big Greek turning home at the back post just 35 seconds after coming on for Germain (78′). Mitroglou could have grabbed a second at the death, but his header hit Lafont’s post (90+1′) and it ended 2-1.
THE PLAYER: Maxime Lopez
Ocampos and Mitroglou may have got the goals, but Maxime Lopez’s performance here made a mockery of the fact that he has only started eight of Marseille’s 29 games in Ligue 1 Conforama this season. Diminutive in stature but a colossus when it comes to speed of thought, Lopez has long been compared to Spain and Barcelona legend Xavi. Only Sakai touched the ball more than the 20-year-old, while his game high 88 percent of passes completed here reaffirm the notion that he should be starting more often for his hometown club. Marseille don’t have another player like him.
THE STAT: 35
Mitroglou’s winning goal – sealed 35 seconds after coming off the bench – was the fastest goal to be scored by a substitute since Guido Carrillo took just 15 seconds to score for AS Monaco versus SC Bastia back in December 2016.