Baup calls for OM character in Corsica
By D. Crossan
Marseille coach Elie Baup says his side "need to show their character" as they travel to Corsica to take on Bastia on Wednesday evening.
SC Bastia - Olympique de Marseille
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The match will take place behind closed doors after the LFP's Disciplinary Commission penalised Bastia for incidents in the Corsican derby at Ajaccio on October 21. Bastia are erecting a giant screen in the car park of the Armand Cesari in order that their supporters might enjoy the match live and encourage their side who stand a mere three points above the relegation zone. Bastia president Pierre-Marie Géronimi said: "I don't know how many fans there will be around the stadium, but that there will be some is certain." A figure of up to 4,000 has been bandied about.
Bastia-OM is a match which brings back terrible memories. The Armand Cesari was the scene of one of Europe's worst stadium disasters when, in May 1992, a temporary stand collapsed prior to the Coupe de France semi-final against Olympique de Marseille, killing 18 fans and injuring thousands.
OM: 11 points from last 10 after opening six wins
OM crashed 3-0 at home to Lorient on Sunday - their second straight home reverse - and have taken just 11 points from their last 10 Ligue 1 fixtures after starting the season with six straight wins. Baup said: "Every time we've had the chance to move clear we've failed to do so. Our first opportunity came against Lyon and we had another chance against Lorient after our good result at Brest. We owe it to ourselves to pick up points away from home. We're slipping back from our objective of averaging two points per match, but that is an elevated objective. We have to stop having accidents and be more effective, more consistent in our runs of results. Until the winter break we have to count on moral and mental values and show a great forced of character. We have to do that and give it everything until the winter break to limit the damage."
Charles Kaboré is suspended after his red card against Lorient but Rod Fanni returns from a two-match ban and André Ayew from a one-game ban. André-Pierre Gignac is back in the squad sooner than expected after fracturing the fifth metatarsal of his left foot against Troyes in October. Benoît Cheyrou (groin) hurt himself against Brest in Week 15 and was ruled out for 15-18 days. Souleymane Diawara went off v Lorient with a muscular problem and Baup says he'll be absent several days. Baup added that right-back Kassim Abdallah was suffering from muscular fatigue after starting three games in a row in all competitions.
Draw an unlikely result
Bastia have not drawn at home (4W, 3L) and OM have not drawn on the road (5W, 3L) so a share of the spoils would be a turn up for the books. After only keeping one clean sheet in their opening 14 matches, Bastia have recorded shutouts at Lille and Toulouse in their last two outings and coach Frédéric Hantz is hopeful they can carry that solidity into the OM game.
"It's the first time this season that we've kept back-to-back clean sheets. It's a pity we didn't get the goal against Toulouse that would have rewarded our work. We know the month of December is going to be complicated for us and we have to carry on our form and hope we manage to win at least one of the three games before the winter break. It's a pity for our season ticket holders and fans that we'll host OM in front of closed doors but we'll prepare for the game in the best possible way."
Bastia top scorer Anthony Modeste is the most likely source of danger for OM. On a season-long loan from Bordeaux, centre-forward Modeste has scored in each of his last five home games in all competitions.
Bastia: Bonnefoi; Angoula, Choplin, Harek, Palmieri; Yatabaré, Sablé; Maoulida, Rothen, Khazri; Modeste
Marseille: Mandanda; Fanni, Nkoulou, Lucas Mendes, Morel; Barton, Abdullah; Amalfitano, Valbuena, A. Ayew; J. Ayew