Marseille fightback floors Troyes
By A. Scott
Luiz Gustavo was among the scorers as Olympique de Marseille battled back from behind to beat ESTAC Troyes 3-1 at the Orange Vélodrome on Wednesday and finish 2017 on a winning note.
Olympique de Marseille 3 - 1 ESTAC Troyes
Marseille coach Rudi Garcia made three changes to the team that lost 2-0 in the 'Olympico' in Lyon at the weekend, with Bouna Sarr, Morgan Sanson and Maxime Lopez all earning recalls. OM had lost just one of their previous 18 home games in all competitions but they were stunned as Troyes took an early lead. Starting against his parent club, Saîf-Eddine Khaoui laid the ball off for Bryan Pelé, who still had work to do as he advanced and curled a shot beyond Steve Mandanda from 25 yards (14').
Troyes have acquitted themselves well since returning to Ligue 1 Conforama and had pushed both Paris Saint-Germain and AS Monaco close in their previous two away games. However, they went on to lose both and they were immediately placed on the back foot after taking the lead here as OM went in search of the equaliser.
Gangling Malian goalkeeper Mamadou Samassa made excellent saves to save from Luiz Gustavo's long-range strike (18') and keep out a Sanson header (20') but there was nothing he could do as Dimitri Payet equalised just after the half-hour mark. Sanson nodded the ball down to the France winger on the edge of the area and he continued into the box before curling a fine shot high into the net on the outside of his right boot for just his second of the season.
Samassa then made another good save from Florian Thauvin (34') as the scores remained level at the interval, and Khaoui cleared off the line after a Payet corner in the 58th minute. Nevertheless, Marseille finally got their noses in front in the 66th minute, Jordan Amavi's ball forward down the left finding Luiz Gustavo, who fired a left-foot volley across Samassa and into the far corner.
Germain among goals again
That should have taken the pressure off the home side, but Troyes refused to give up and they might well have drawn level with quarter of an hour left, with Suk Hyun-Jun getting up well to head against the bar before somehow failing to convert the rebound.
With the match becoming stretched, Payet chipped just over (78') and then played a part in the move that secured the three points. He released Sanson, who squared for Valère Germain to finish for his fourth goal in his last four games in all competitions.
The win ensures that OM end the year just three points behind both AS Monaco and Olympique Lyonnais, and their two rivals for a podium place still have to come to the Vélodrome in the second half of the season.
THE PLAYER: Luiz Gustavo
What a signing the Brazilian has been for OM. He was outstanding again here, whether it be winning the ball back or threatening to score, and then netting the crucial second goal, with that fine left foot of his. The former Bayern Munich already has five Ligue 1 Conforama goals to his name.
THE STAT: 16
The number of points Marseille have taken from a possible 18 in their last six home games, with five wins and a draw against Paris Saint-Germain in that time.