Alexis Sanchez came off the bench to make his Ligue 1 Uber Eats debut but the former Arsenal and Manchester United man was unable to help Olympique de Marseille to victory at Brest as Igor Tudor's side were held 1-1 in Brittany on Sunday.
Sanchez and Dimitri Payet started on the bench at the Stade Francis Le Blé as Igor Tudor went with the same starting XI that earned him a 4-1 debut win as Marseille coach against Reims last weekend.
The former Croatia international defender saw his team harried for most of the opening exchanges by a combative Brest side, but they did create the best early opportunity: Matteo Guendouzi burst forward and forced a close-range save from Marco Bizot. Lilian Brassier cleared the loose ball with Arkadiusz Milik closing in (4').
The Poland international striker would surely have enjoyed the cross Mathias Pereira Lage produced for Jérémy Le Douaron to head against a post shortly after the half-hour mark. Having got across Samuel Gigot, the Brest forward saw his effort smack off the right-hand upright of Ruben Blanco's goal with the OM goalkeeper motionless (33').
Bizot was equally rooted to the spot when Nuno Tavares gave OM the lead seven minutes before the break. The on-loan Arsenal wing-back had found the net seconds before the half-time interval against Reims; this time, he struck slightly earlier, steering home Jonathan Clauss' cross as a training ground corner routine with Cengiz Ünder was executed to perfection (38').
Brest coach Michel Der Zakarian brought on Youcef Belaïli at half-time, and the Algeria international's creativity gave the hosts the initiative. He sent a header from a corner over the bar (53') and Ruben Blanco was forced to make a save from Franck Honorat (54') before a Belaïli corner was headed out to Pierre Lees-Melou, who smashed a superb half volley into the net from 25 metres (60').
Tudor had brought on new signing Sanchez at the break, but the Chile international had little impact as Brest continued to dominate. Le Douaron should have scored at least one of two excellent chances he had, but first he headed over from almost under the crossbar (68') before shooting wastefully when teed up by the excellent Haris Belkebla (73').
The luckless forward was replaced by Irvin Cardona, and he might have given Brest the points with a powerful header to Brendan Chardonnet's cross, but Ruben Blanco leapt to his left to paw the ball to safety (79') and keep Marseille unbeaten.
THE PLAYER: Haris Belkebla
While compatriot Belaïli's qualities on the ball stood out, Belkebla's shone through in and out of possession. He kept the Brest midfield ticking, and contributed importantly at both ends of the pitch.
THE STAT: 10
Brest have not beaten Marseille at the Stade Francis Le Blé since a 1-0 victory against OM in February 2012 courtesy of a Paul Baysse header.