Five wins in a row for OM
By D. Crossan
Morgan Sanson and Dimitri Payet scored the first-half goals as Olympique de Marseille won the top-of-the-table clash with Angers 2-0 at Stade Raymond Kopa.
André Villas-Boas elected to let Angers, a team with the lowest possession ratio in the division, have the majority of the ball and the decision paid off as OM closed to two points back from leaders Paris Saint-Germain, who play the first of their two games in hand on OM at home to Nantes on Wednesday evening.
Unchanged from the 2-1 home win over Brest on Friday evening despite Alvaro Gonzalez being available again after suspension, OM had the first attempt on target through Payet (6'). Steve Mandanda then made the save of the match, getting down brilliantly to deal with Pierrick Capelle's fine header from a Vincent Manceau cross (15').
Angers were bolstered by the return of several players who missed their weekend loss at Nice but were undone as they switched off in the 17th minute as Payet slid a free-kick into Morgan Sanson and the midfielder found the side-netting for his second goal of the season. Dario Benedetto (35') then hammered in a shot at goal that Ludovic Butelle got in behind.
Payet (41') put OM two-nil ahead from the penalty spot with his fifth goal of the season - three of them penalties - as he sent Butelle the wrong way from 12 yards. Romain Thomas had fouled the marauding Hiroki Sakai in the area and the home defender was booked.
In the second half OM were content to sit on their advantage and their only real moment of danger came when Rachid Alioui (66') sent a free-kick narrowly wide with Mandanda beaten. Nemanja Radonjic - a scorer in each of his two previous substitute appearances - could have extended his run but fired over with a half-volley (86').
THE PLAYER: Dimitri Payet
Thanks to a goal and an assist, the in-form Payet has now been directly involved in 100 goals in all competitions for OM over his two spells at the club, scoring 41 times and supplying 59 assists. In the pre-match press conference Duje Caleta-Car said that when Payet plays well OM are twice as good. Villas-Boas took off the former captain early in order for him to be frsh when Bordeaux visit Orange Vélodrome on Sunday.
THE STAT: 5
Olympique de Marseille made it five consecutive Ligue 1 Conforama victories for the first time since October 2014.