Dimitri Payet, Marseille
Match Reports

Marseille move second with Lens win

Publish on 22/01/2022 at 22:50 - I. HOLYMAN

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Marseille claimed second place in the Ligue 1 Uber Eats table on Saturday thanks to Dimitri Payet's first-half penalty and a debut goal from Cédric Bakambu that earned them a 2-0 win at Lens.

THE MATCH

Jorge Sampaoli's men travelled north in third place, just two points behind Nice, who go to in-form Metz on Sunday afternoon, and hopeful of maintaining the momentum built by a run of just one defeat in 12 league games. Lens, however, had won their last two after a winless streak of six, and promised to make life difficult, especially as they harboured ambitions of a win that would take them into fourth.

 

New OM signings Bakambu and Sead Kolasinac were on the visitors' bench, and they saw William Saliba execute a clean tackle on Gaël Kakuta (6') with the hosts hoping to impose themselves early on.

 

Cengiz Ünder fired straight at Wulker Farinez — preferred to Jean-Louis Leca in the home goal — by means of stating Marseille's intentions (9'), and Sampaoli's men actually settled into the game at the Stade Félix Bollaert where Lens had lost just once in the 2021/22 Ligue 1 Uber Eats campaign.

 

Good fortune cannot be the sole reason for such strength on home soil, but Franck Haise's side used up a huge block of it to — somehow! — avoid going behind just before the half-hour mark. Valentin Rongier picked up a Payet pass and let fly from just outside the box: the former Nantes midfielder's shot struck the crossbar, ricocheted off the back of the diving Farinez's head and then off a post before Jonathan Gradit got to the loose ball ahead of Gerson (29').

 

 

It was the sort of let-off that suggested it might be Lens' day. There was nothing unlucky, however, about referee Stéphanie Frappart pointing to the spot when Facundo Medina brought down Matteo Guendouzi just when the on-loan Arsenal midfielder looked like he would convert Ünder's cross. Instead, Payet slotted home the spot-kick — his third of the season and eighth league goal (34').

 

Lens responded through Florian Sotoca, who burst onto a Gradit through ball only to fire against the advancing Pau Lopez (38'), and Wesley Saïd, who should have done better than shoot wide when well placed (40').

 

Payet was left with his head in his hands when a shot from the edge of the area — after he had dribbled from just inside the Lens half — flashed narrowly wide (54'), and Gerson had a promising effort charged down by Jonathan Clauss (57'). At the opposite end, Guendouzi's timely intervention denied Saïd a clear sight of goal (55').

 

Bakambu replaced Luis Henrique with 15 minutes to go and two minutes later, he doubled Marseille's lead. The former Sochaux and Villarreal forward, who has returned to Europe after nearly four years in China, flicked the ball to Guendouzi — his perfectly weighted through ball meant Bakambu didn't have to break stride before drilling a shot past Farinez at the Venezuelan's near post (77') to leave Marseille the closest challengers to leaders Paris Saint-Germain.

 

THE PLAYER: Matteo Guendouzi

The France international midfielder did a bit of everything for OM. He was involved in both goals and also proved a valuable asset in his own penalty box. 

 

THE STAT: 7

Marseille have won seven of the nine league games in which they have opened the scoring this season and lost just once.

 

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