Andre-Pierre Gignac scored two fine goals as les Phoceens recovered from one down to defeat les Lionceaux.
Francis Gillot has had his side playing with great flair and adventure this season, and this was brilliantly demonstrated as the hosts opened the scoring two minutes before the break. A stunning pass found over-lapping right-back Maxime Josse, whose first-time cross was headed expertly into the net by Ideye Brown.
OM were quick to respond, and once again it was Gignac who struck. There appeared little on when he gathered his back to goal 25-yards out, but the former Toulouse man spun away from Jacques Faty’s challenge before bending a lovely shot into the very corner of the net.
After the interval, Marseille were the better side and were rewarded when Gignac’s superb volley gave them the win.
The first half was an up-tempo affair, which saw both sides play with plenty of pace, though to little genuine effect. It was OM who tended to probe more, but during Sochaux’s more infrequent periods of dominance they arguably looked the greater threat.
Marseille’s best opening of the half came with 10 minutes before the break. As les Lionceaux tried to clear their lines from a set piece, a high ball was lobbed back into their box, breaking the offside trap. Andre-Pierre Gignac ultimately had the shot at goal, but Teddy Richert saved smartly at his near post.
Richert went largely untroubled over the course of the opening 45 minutes. The goalkeeper, who has recently overcome serious injury, dealt well with a series of crosses into his box, while any OM efforts at goal tended to be from outside the box and were hence fielded with some ease.
At the other end, les Lionceaux’s exciting young attack posed real problems to the home defence. Marvin Martin was particularly impressive, with one run taking him by three players before a his powerful shot from the edge of the box flew over.
Ideye also had a glorious chance following a clever back-heel from Ryad Boudebouz out on the right wing, but when the ball dropped to the Nigerian he missed his kick.
Didier Deschamps’ men exerted a good deal more control over the course of the second period. Despite Lucho Gonzalez’s best efforts, they struggled to create many clear openings, though at least their defensive efforts kept les Lionceaux out. Nicolas Maurice-Belay did have one fizzing cross punched clear by Steve Mandanda, but the was OM’s only real scare.
At the other end, Gignac was their inspiration and ultimately their match-winner, when he sent a crashing volley into the net from 18-yards after good work from Loic Remy down the right.
Sochaux didn’t have the power to haul themselves back into the match, instead falling to just a second home loss of the campaign.
After a poor run of results, this was therefore quite a blow for Marseille to strike in the race of the title. OM are still three points off the pace of Lille, who have played a game fewer, but with plenty of time left in the campaign, les Phoceens will now feel a good bit more confident about retaining their crown.