Balotelli nets as OM go fourth
By D. Crossan
First-half goals from Florian Thauvin and Mario Balotelli led Olympique de Marseille to a 2-0 home win over Amiens, lifting Rudi Garcia's side to provisional fourth in the table.
Olympique de Marseille 2-0 Amiens SC
Marseille have now taken a league-leading 25 points against the bottom five clubs in the division, more than any other team. Having beaten Caen last time out, Amiens were unable to follow up that fine result and have now lost five of their last six league matches.
OM had already gone close through Lucas Ocampos (5') and Jordan Amavi (9') before taking the lead (19'). Boubacar Kamara took the ball off Emil Krafth, Balotelli backheeled to Maxime Lopez and the midfielder served Thauvin. A hat-trick scorer against Amiens last November, the French international accelerated away and finished left-footed for his 12th league goal of the season.
Five minutes later (25') OM eased further clear. Ocampos flicked on Steve Mandanda's free-kick, Balotelli took the ball back to goal and pivoted to score right-footed to delight the home supporters. Amiens had a penalty appeal turned down (40') when Mandanda challenged Sehrou Guirassy.
Balotelli (67') thought he'd scored his second of the game when Balotelli headed home after Ocampos had flicked on a Lopez free-kick. After a VAR review the striker's finish was ruled out as Balotelli was offside. Amavi (74') smashed a shot against the bar as Marseille continued to look the more dangerous team, before taking their foot off the pedal in the closing minutes.
THE PLAYER: Mario Balotelli
The Italian international has scored three times in four Ligue 1 Conforama games for OM, having failed to strike at all in ten top division matches for previous club Nice before his January switch. The 28-year-old has already had a major impact at Orange Vélodrome and could be the player to inspire Marseille to a European finish, maybe even a place in the top three.
THE STAT: 4
Marseille have beaten Amiens in all four Ligue 1 Conforama meetings of the two clubs.