Marseille grind out win in gloom
Maxime Lopez scored his first professional goal and Bafétimbi Gomis struck a late winner as Olympique de Marseille beat Dijon FCO 2-1 in the gloom in Burgundy on Saturday.
Gomis popped up with the winner three minutes from time just when it looked as if a Mehdi Abeid free-kick, which cancelled out Lopez's early opener, would earn Dijon a point as the fog thickened at the Stade Gaston-Gérard.
It was Marseille's first away win of the campaign and, following their 3-0 victory at home to AS Nancy Lorraine last time out, the first time this season they had recorded back-to-back victories. Dijon, meanwhile, have now gone seven Ligue 1 matches without a win after losing at home for the first time since the opening weekend of the campaign.
Called off on Friday evening due to thick fog in Burgundy that would have made it practically impossible for fans to see the action on the pitch, this encounter went ahead on Saturday afternoon in the bitter cold at the Stade Gaston-Gérard.
Marseille had produced an encouraging performance to beat Nancy in their last outing and, with an unchanged line-up from that game, it took them just six minutes to open the scoring here.
Against Nancy Florian Thauvin collected a Lopez pass before scoring the opener and he returned the favour this time. Gomis flicked the ball into the path of Thauvin and his pass in behind the Dijon defence matched the run of Lopez, who stabbed it past the advancing Baptiste Reynet to break his senior duck.
Looking to extend a run of seven home league games without defeat, Olivier Dall'Oglio's men came closest to equalising in the first half from an Abeid free-kick that was turned behind by Yohann Pelé, flying high to his left.
Marseille could have doubled their advantage on a counter-attack led by Thauvin moments later. Lopez centred for William Vainqueur, whose shot was saved by Reynet before the follow-up by Gomis was blocked on the line by Fouad Chafik.
Pierre Lees-Melou fired over from a Chafik cutback and Gomis could not turn in a powerful ball across the face of goal by Hiroki Sakai as the match opened up towards half-time, before Dijon enjoyed the better of the game in the second period.
Frédéric Sammaritano and Julio Tavares both threatened but it took until 12 minutes from time for the equaliser to arrive. When Vainqueur was booked for bringing down Lees-Melou in a central position 25 yards out, Abeid stepped up to curl the resulting free-kick over the wall and in.
Abeid's effort was right down the middle of the goal but Pelé was unmoved, perhaps due to the thickening fog that made visibility harder and harder as the game went on. In such conditions, it seemed as though the two teams would settle for a point after that, but Marseille grabbed the winner in the 87th minute. Substitute Bouna Sarr did well to get away from Quentin Bernard on the right before crossing low for Gomis to convert his eighth league goal of the season from six yards.
THE PLAYER: Maxime Lopez
A week after a sterling display against Nancy on the occasion of his 19th birthday, it was another day to remember for Lopez as he opened the scoring with his first professional goal. He is the third-youngest Marseille goal-scorer in Ligue 1 of the 21st century after Samir Nasri and Jordan Ayew.
THE STAT: 10
This was Marseille's first win in 10 away Ligue 1 games since beating Angers SCO on May 1.