At the term of an exciting match at the Velodrome between two of the biggest clubs in France, Olympique de Marseille overcame Stade Rennais in a 2-0 victory, thanks to goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (34) and Azzedine Ounahi (23). The victory comes as a relief to Gennaro Gattuso’s side, who hadn’t won a game in Ligue 1 since an early October 3-0 victory over Le Havre.
Tonight, both teams were looking to replicate their recent European performances, as this week OM defeated Ajax Amsterdam 4-3 in their Europa League fixture, while Rennes beat Maccabi Haifa 0-3 away in the Conference League.
In the first half, the home team was more than happy to leave the ball to their opposition, as Rennes maintained 61% of possession, while Marseille attempted to exploit the space left behind by Julien Stephan’s high block, to play the attackers in and behind, or progress the ball via technical ball-carriers such as Amine Harit (26) or Iliman Ndiaye (23). Their strategy proved successful, as a seventh-minute drive into the box from Harit drew a foul from Christopher Wooh (22), winning a penalty. As he did twice against Ajax, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (34) stepped up to the spot and slotted it home, giving OM the lead.
Moroccan duo Harit and Ounahi hand a desperate Marseille the win
Rennes on the other hand kept the possession, but without ever appearing dangerous. Wingbacks Adrien Truffert (22) and Benjamin Bourigeaud (29) multiplied runs down the flank, repeatedly attempting to feed their attackers with crosses and cutbacks, but always lacking the finishing touch. Both Amine Gouiri (23) and Martin Terrier (26), although generous in availability, never seemed to find space to receive the ball in dangerous positions.
More of the same in the second half, though Jonathan Clauss’ (31) half-time substitution by Michael Murillo (27) meant one of OM’s key passers had left the pitch, reducing the team’s counter-attacking threat. Instead, the match turned into more of a scramble for possession, as either team lacked technical precision and incisiveness.
In the 61st minute, however, Christopher Wooh (22) concluded his overall difficult performance, as a late challenge on Geoffrey Kondogbia (30) saw him receive his second yellow card of the match, thus leaving the pitch. Four minutes later, the match got worse for the Rouges et Noirs, as an individual exploit from Azzedine Ounahi (23) saw the Moroccan international slalom through Enzo Le Fée (23) and Truffert, before rocketing the ball into the net to widen his team’s lead.
Three minutes from then, Iliman Ndiaye (23) awkwardly stepped on Jeanuël Belocian’s (18) shin, receiving a direct red card and putting both teams on equal footing. From there, the game slowly drew to its natural conclusion, as both teams went back and forth without ever being dangerous. As the final whistle blew, Marseille came away with the three points, the first since October.
Marseille player ratings:
Pau Lopez – 5
Chancel Mbemba – 5
Samuel Gigot – 4
Jonathan Clauss – 5 – replaced by Michael Murillo – 4
Renan Lodi – 3
It was a disappointing game for the Brazilian defender, as didn’t manage to bring value to his team, be it defensively or offensively. A mixture of a lack of defensive aggressivity, which saw Bourigeaud often find space to cross in from his side, and offensive imprecision, summed up an overall poor game from Lodi.
Geoffrey Kondogbia – 4
Amine Harit – 8
Game after game, the Moroccan international is becoming the offensive leader of this OM side, always looking to progress the ball when he receives it, through a dribble or a pass. On top of drawing a penalty against Wooh at the beginning of the match, he proved invaluable in all of his team’s build-up phases.
Azzedine Ounahi – 7
Ounahi was very useful in maintaining possession in the middle of the park, looking to distribute the ball to the attackers or orientate the play from deeper positions. His exquisite goal at the 65th minute, following an impressive solo run, concluded an overall satisfactory performance.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 7
Another good performance from Auba following his Europa League hattrick, who always made runs in behind to receive long balls from Mbemba and Clauss. At times he even came deep to participate in OM’s build-up using his pace and strength to bring the ball up the pitch. Another solid player who’s beginning to show why Pablo Longoria opted to sign him during the summer.
Ismaïla Sarr – 4
Ilimane Ndiaye – 5
Rennes player ratings:
Steve Mandanda – 4
Christopher Wooh – 2
Almost everything that could go wrong for Wooh tonight, did. After conceding a penalty due to clumsy defending against Harit within the first ten minutes, he wasn’t far from causing a second at the 18th minute, when he struggled to defend against a Clauss through ball for Aubameyang, nearly bringing the Gabonese down.
Jeanuël Belocian – 4
Arthur Theate – 4
Adrien Truffert – 6
The French u-21 international was the only player who found space in and behind the OM defence, due mostly to Clauss’ offensive activity. Often found in space by either Matic or Santamaria, he often lacked precision in the final pass, sending crosses too far, or directly into a defender.
Nemanja Matic – 5
Benjamin Bourigeaud – 5
Baptiste Santamaria – 4
Enzo Le Fée – 5
Amine Gouiri – 6
Gouiri played a solid game although he was never a threat offensively. He came deep to participate in build-up and even showed to be combative when fighting to win the ball back. He can however be disappointed to not have been more precise offensively.