Hexagoal Ligue 1 Trophy
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Skipper Payet nets big winner for OM

Publish on 06/05/2018 at 00h00 - S. WILLIS

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Europa League finalists Olympique de Marseille came from behind to win 2-1 at home to Nice to match Monaco and Lyon's wins from earlier in the day.

Olympique de Marseille 2-1 OGC Nice

THE MATCH

OM brushed aside the fatigue of 120 minutes in Salzburg on Thursday and showed their strength of character as they overcame falling behind to an early Mario Balotelli goal (5'). Valère Germain (13') equalised against his former club and Dimitri Payet (72') walked in the winner after strong play from supersub Clinton Njie.

OM top scorer Florian Thauvin (4') was unfortunate not to score with a left-footed dipper and seconds later the home team fell behind. Rolando, Thursday night's goalscoring hero, was playing as Adil Rami was suspended and the Portuguese was to easily beaten inside the box by Balotelli. The Italian still had plenty to do and he did it brilliantly, smashing a shot beyond Steve Mandanda - featuring for the first time in over a month because of injury - for his 16th league goal of the campaign.

Thauvin (9') forced a smart diving save from Walter Benitez and then Germain scored against the club he managed 14 league goals for on loan from Monaco a couple of seasons ago. Payet rode Arnaud Souquet's challenge and crossed low to the front post for the striker to turn home.

Thauvin was always keen to get shots away and had a powerful effort deflected off target by Dante (31') and then shot straight at Benitez (39') as OM dominated. Rolando went off injured at half-time and Nice almost capitalized on the confusion (46') only for an unmarked Balotelli to spurn the chance.

Njie came on for a flagging Thauvin and within seconds was using his pace to stretch the Nice defence. Dante would not have been happy with the defending that allowed the Cameroonian to elude him and pull the ball back for an elated Payet to finish. There was late drama as Pierre Lees-Melou had a back-heeled goal (93') disallowed for handball.

OM are competing for Champions League qualification on two fronts and their third successive win over Nice left them a point back from Monaco and two adrift of Lyon with two games to play.

THE PLAYER: Dimitri Payet

Payet's challenge for a World Cup place continues as the OM captain has been in irrepressible form in recent weeks. The statistics back up the French international's influence as he has been involved in six of the club's last seven goals in all competitions, scoring the winner here as well as providing five assists in that run.

THE STAT: 5

Mario Balotelli has scored five times in four Ligue 1 Conforama appearances against OM, including a double on his French top division debut back in 2016.