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Ligue 1

  • February 19, 2011
  • • 18:00
  • • Stade Vélodrome, Marseille
  • Referee: R. Buquet
  • • Attendance: 53494

Olympique de Marseille 2-1 Saint-Etienne: Andre-Pierre Gignac Off Injured As OM Claim Win

Olympique de Marseille 2-1 Saint-Etienne: Andre-Pierre Gignac Off Injured As OM Claim Win

OM claimed the points, but it wasn't all positive against les Verts...

There was mixed news for Olympique de Marseille on Saturday evening as they claimed a 2-1 victory over Saint-Etienne, but an injury to star striker Andre-Pierre Gignac was a black mark with regard to Wednesday’s forthcoming Champions League match against Manchester United.

It took Marseille the best part of 70 minutes to break the resistance of the dogged visiting side, and when the goal came it was a well-constructed move. Taye Taiwo fed Gignac inside the box, and the forward pivoted to lay a pass back to Lucho Gonzalez, who finished comprehensively from around the penalty spot.

Gignac would be carried from the field after suffering what appeared to be a groin injury, but that didn’t stop OM adding to their advantage. Andre Ayew’s cross picked out brother Jordan, who had come onto the field in place of the ex-Toulouse man, and though his shot wasn’t on target, it was steered in from close range by Loic Remy.

Les Verts only offered late fight, with Christophe Landrin’s late strike virtually the last kick of the game.

For much of the opening period, Saint-Etienne would sit back and attempt to soak up waves of OM attacks, but it was actually the visitors who made the more promising start to the match, with an effort from Bakary Sako deflected just wide of Steve Mandanda’s goal.

There would be a greater worry for the home fans when Carlos Bocanegra thought he had scrambled the hosts ahead following a corner, but Emmanuel Riviere was flagged offside having caused the initial panic with a firm downward header kicked clear by the home custodian.

Didier Deschamps’ men dominated from that moment but struggled to force Jeremie Janot into real action in the visiting goal. The shot-stopper scooped up a couple of fairly simple long-range dribblers, but les Verts’ defence was impressively resolute.

Marseille’s best moment came from a corner kick that was cleared only as far as the edge of the box. Benoit Cheyrou fizzed in a good shot that was cleared off the line by Laurent Batlles and rebounded to Souleymane Diawara, who was thwarted in a similar fashion at the other side of the goal.

Andre-Pierre Gignac offered bustle and purpose alongside the largely anonymous figure of Brandao, but the former Toulouse man was denied by a terrific saving challenge from Sylvain Monsoreau just as it seemed he was destined to open the scoring.

Early in the second half, Brandao drew a routine tip over from Janot with a firm header, but OM were being well constrained, and their frustration manifested itself when Lucho Gonzalez kicked out at Batlles after the Saint-Etienne midfielder had committed a nasty foul in the centre of the field. The Argentine should have seen red for his flailing leg, so would have been relieved to be only cautioned.

Sainte started to tire around the hour mark, and two goals followed for OM in what was a rather anticlimactic end, during which Loic Remy would limp off in a worrying fashion.

Though Deschamps will undoubtedly be pleased with the pressure his side exerted in this match, there was a lack of efficiency about much of their forward play, and the loss of Gignac due to a muscular problem will be a real issue looking into the future.

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