The hosts may have been the more impressive side, but that did not prevent them losing their unbeaten record in front of their own fans this termA late goal from Benoit Cheyrou meant that Olympique de Marseille snatched a 2-1 victory over Stade Rennais at the Stade de la Route de Lorient, ending the last unbeaten home record in Ligue 1.
The home side started the brighter and took the lead as Tongo Doumbia scored a memorable first professional goal, but Marseille got lucky before the break as Loic Remy’s cross was deflected into his own net by Onyekachi Apam. Rennes would continue to be the better side in the second period, but that did not stop Cheyrou smacking the decisive goal.
With new addition Mevlut Erding on the bench, the Breton side started with real urgency and pace. This positive start was rewarded by the opening goal, which came from the unlikely source of Doumbia, though his fizzing low drive into the corner from 25 yards was that of a veteran scorer.
OM weren’t looking as fluent as they have done over the course of the last couple of months, and though Remy and Mathieu Valbuena were posing a threat, it was Jires Kembo-Ekoko who was catching the eye for the hosts. On half an hour the attacking midfielder was athletically denied by Mandanda when his volley was destined for the top corner.
From the resultant corner, Yacine Brahimi slammed a shot just past, and the same player’s greed would cost his side a goal before the break as he shot from a tight angle when a pass was much the better option.
Rennes would be punished in stoppage time when Remy’s hopeful cross was agonisingly flicked into his own net by Apam.
The same verve the hosts had shown in the first half was not evident after the break, though they still posed OM questions, with Kembo-Ekoko denied only by a miracle sliding block from Nicolas Nkoulou.
Marseille did not particularly look like scoring a winner when they attacked, though Lucho Gonzalez had a fine chance from close-range, yet they produced the decisive moment 13 minutes from time. A neat interchange at the edge of the box set up Cheyrou, and the midfielder’s fierce shot was too hot for stand-in goalkeeper Abdoulaye Diallo to keep out.
Didier Deschamps’ side continues to rise up the table, keeping pace with the top four sides who all won over the weekend. OM are Ligue 1’s form side, and they appear to be as mentally strong as ever. Rennes, meanwhile, have not enjoyed the same consistency as their hosts, and it was once more their lack of scoring power that cost them their unbeaten home record.