Olympique de Marseille got back to winning ways with a 1-0 victory over ten-man SM Caen on Sunday, with Morgan Sanson (47') scoring what proved to be the winning goal in Normandy.
SM Caen 0-1 Olympique de Marseille
Marseille made the 600-mile journey to the north of France without a win in their previous nine games in all competitions, but they started brightly at the Stade Michel d'Ornano, with Dimitri Payet pulling the strings. The OM captain whipped a pair of wicked deliveries into the Caen box early on (3', 16'), but both times Enzo Crivelli was there to head the danger clear. Payet went off clutching his knee soon after, to be replaced by Sanson (26'), and the flow of the game changed, at least for a time. Caen's Morocco midfielder Fayçal Fajr found Paul Baysse with a corner, but the centre-back's header went over the crossbar (41'). Kevin Strootman (43') and Malik Tchokounté (45+3') then exchanged chances before Frank Schneider's whistle went for half-time with the score at 0-0.
Sanson on song
The second half was only minutes old when Marseille broke the deadlock. Valère Germain sent Strootman clear down the left, the Netherlands star crossed for Sanson, and there was nothing Brice Samba in the home goal could do about him heading home his fourth goal of the Ligue 1 Conforama campaign (47'). Things went from bad to worse for Caen soon after when Frédéric Guilbert was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence (51'). Home coach Fabien Mercadal brought on Jonathan Gradit for the more attack-minded Tchokounté (54'), and the change in tactic served him well. Caen nearly got back on level terms when Crivelli got one-on-one with Steve Mandanda after robbing Rolando, but he showed too much of the ball to Mandanda, who made the save (68'). Fajr fired a late free-kick in the OM wall (79') and the visitors held on to seal a 1-0 win.
THE PLAYER: Morgan Sanson
Having started 15 of Marseille's 19 games so far this season, Sanson will have been disappointed to have found himself on the bench at kick-off. The former Montpellier Hérault SC man made the most of his chance when it presented itself, though, completing a 88 percent of his passes as well as scoring what proved to be the winning goal.
THE STAT: 7
Marseille are now undefeated against Caen in their last seven Ligue 1 Conforama meetings, winning a maximum possible haul of 21 points against the Normandy club in that time. The last time Les Phocéens lost to Caen was back in August 2015, when Andy Delort - now of Montpellier - scored in a 1-0 win at the Orange Vélodrome.