PLAYER RATINGS | Lille 3-1 Marseille: Hosts prepare for Aston Villa with second-half rout

Olympique de Marseille travelled to the Stade Pierre Mauroy to face Lille OSC in a match that neither team would like to have contested with a crucial European fixture on the horizon. There was no chance to rest and rotate for either side, although perhaps Marseille’s current injury crisis would not have allowed them to, even if they were facing less formidable opponents. 

That alone would have contributed to a cagey meeting but with the tight European race at hand that could see as low as seventh (which Marseille occupy) qualify for next year’s competitions, there was a desperate desire to avoid defeat over the risk of trying to force a victory. 

The first half was played to a passive pace without much goal-mouth action to speak of from either side. Lille dominated the chances with Marseille recording only two shots on target throughout the half, but despite the more frequent shots from the hosts, Pau López was rarely profoundly tested in the Marseille goal. 

The best chance came early in the half when Lille’s well-worked passage of play saw Edon Zhegrova in acres of space in front of goal. It was a prime opportunity for Lille to open the scoring, but the right winger’s shot was a tame effort that trickled into López’s reach. 

Marseille entered the second half with more intensity and finally threatened Lucas Chevalier forcing the goalkeeper into a reflex save, but their good work was immediately undone when Jonathan David intercepted a lazy pass from Luis Henrique. 

The striker strode into the box and was brought down by Samuel Gigot. David stepped up for the penalty and opened the scoring with a low shot sending López diving in the wrong direction and as the ball hit the net there was the clear feeling that Marseille’s brief dominance was over. 

Lille soon doubled their lead as Bentaleb’s line-breaking pass into the forward line was picked up by Rémy Cabella who etched into the penalty box before releasing a curling shot over the reach of López. Only a defensive mix-up brought some late pressure to the hosts as Alexsandro and Ismaily scrambled to clear a searching ball and ended up helping Marseille find the net, with Ismaily’s clearance deflecting off Alexsandro and past Chevalier. 

Such was the dominance since the opening goal that it only took Lille a few minutes to refind their two-goal deficit as Gabriel Gudmundsson took advantage of Marseille’s lax defending to enter a pocket of space and score their third of the night. Any hope that Marseille might have had was over and so too was the game. 

A fourth loss in a row ahead of their Europa League quarter-final against Benfica is a worrying situation for Jean-Louis Gasset’s squad, fatigue has begun to set in and their injury crisis leads them limping into the final stages of this campaign. For Lille, it was the perfect preparation for a tricky midweek contest against Aston Villa. Les Dogues are far from favourites against the spending power of the Premier League, but perhaps they might just make life difficult for their richer northern neighbours.

Lille player ratings

Lucas Chevalier, 7 – A quiet first half but was called into action more regularly in the second. A few vital saves at key moments crushed any chance of a Marseille comeback. 

Ismaily, 5

Leny Yoro, 5

Alexsandro, 4

Tiago Santos, 6

Benjamin André, 6

Nabil Bentaleb, 7

Gabriel Gudmundsson, 6

Rémy Cabella, 6

Edon Zhegrova, 6

Jonathan David, 8 – A constant threat buzzing around Marseille’s defensive line. His movement was good and his interception in the first goal was crucial to breaking the deadlock. 

Marseille player ratings

Pau López, 6

Quentin Merlin, 4

Leonardo Balerdi, 5

Samuel Gigot, 4

Ulisses Garcia, 4

Jordan Veretout, 4

Pape Gueye, 3

Azzedine Ounahi, 3

Amine Harit, 5

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 5

Luis Henrique, 2 – A terrible night for the winger. Poor on the ball and off it. His judgement was lacking at times and ultimately triggered the second-half collapse. 

GFFN | Nick Hartland

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