Lille stun Marseille to move up to second
By A. Scott
Nicolas Pépé and Jonathan Bamba starred as LOSC produced a superb second-half display to beat Olympique de Marseille 3-0 at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy on Sunday evening.
LOSC 3 - 0 Olympique de Marseille
Lille simply blew their visitors away in the final half an hour, having looked the more lively team all evening against a Marseille side who came to the far north of France without several key players and were seemingly intent on keeping things tight at the back and perhaps stealing a goal on the counter-attack.
Marseille coach Rudi Garcia surprisingly decided to leave Dimitri Payet on the bench at kick-off, while Morgan Sanson, Adil Rami and Jordan Amavi were all either injured or suspended. There was a first Marseille start for recent signing Nemanja Radonjic and a first start this season for Grégory Sertic, but the away side looked disjointed and were undone at the back by the frightening pace and youthful enthusiasm of Lille's attack.
The hosts needed Mike Maignan to make a couple of brave saves at the feet of Radonjic and later Florian Thauvin in the first half, with Lille only really threatening via a Thiago Mendes long-range that whistled just wide just before the interval.
However, they stepped things up after the restart, with Bamba and Jonathan Ikoné teeing up Pépé to curl a shot just wide in the 48th minute. There were signs that Marseille might crack and they did just after the hour mark when the excellent Pépé burst away from Luiz Gustavo and into the box before being brought down by Steve Mandanda. The France goalkeeper was booked for the foul and was then beaten by Pépé's spot-kick (65').
Payet and Konstantinos Mitroglou were sent on for OM, but they could not find an equaliser, with Thauvin having an off-night. Instead Lille killed the game from another penalty four minutes from time. Pépé was the player fouled once again, this time by Luiz Gustavo. But it was Bamba who took the penalty, scoring despite Mandanda getting a touch to the ball (86').
All that remained was for the home team to seal a superb night a minute from the end. Substitute Rafael Leão found Fodé Ballo-Touré with a delightful back-heel, and the latter's ball across the face of goal was turned in by Bamba, who joins Pépé on five Ligue 1 Conforama goals for the season.
Lille are up to second in the table after making it four wins from four home outings this season. Marseille are down in sixth after losing on their travels for the second weekend running.
THE PLAYER: Nicolas Pépé
How relieved Lille must be that the Ivory Coast international chose to stay despite the interest from Olympique Lyonnais in the summer. The former Angers SCO player had already been Lille's standout performer this season coming into this game. Here he looked lively in the first half but really stood out after the break, winning both penalties, one of which he scored himself. With him in the side, Christophe Galtier's side can aim high.
THE STAT: 16
Marseille have conceded 16 goals already in the league this season, an average of two per game. Only bottom side EA Guingamp (17) have let in more. Rudi Garcia's team have let in nine in their last three outings and really need Adil Rami and Jorge Rolando back to shore up their defence if they are to challenge for a top-three finish.