Michel's Marseille hit Troyes for six
By A. Scott
Míchel enjoyed a dream debut as coach of Olympique de Marseille as his side destroyed a hapless ESTAC Troyes 6-0 at the Stade Vélodrome on Sunday evening.
Olympique de Marseille 6 - 0 ESTAC Troyes
Abdelaziz Barrada gave OM a 19th-minute lead but they ran away with the game in the second half after Lassana Diarra had marked his Ligue 1 debut with a wonder strike in the 48th minute. Michy Batshuayi added two goals either side of a spectacular overhead kick by Lucas Ocampos and a Romain Alessandrini effort as Míchel beamed on the touchline.
After defeats against Caen and Reims in the first two weeks of the campaign, Marseille are finally up and running, but it was a chastening evening for the visitors, who are left still looking for their first win of the season and have now conceded nine goals in their last two games.
Míchel's first team selection showed four changes to the OM side beaten at Reims last weekend, with fit-again Barrada earning a recall and new signings Diarra, Rémy Cabella and Javier Manquillo all making their debuts in a new-look 4-3-3 formation. The inclusion of on-loan Atlético Madrid right-back Manquillo, however, only came about after Brice Dja Djédjé hurt himself in the warm-up.
OM started strongly and the Troyes defence, with a midfielder in Lossemy Karaboué standing in for the suspended Chris Mavinga at left-back, struggled to cope with the intensity of the home side's attacking. Barrada had a shot blocked by Matthieu Saunier and Alessandrini dragged an effort wide when well placed, while Batshuayi headed over from Barrada's flighted cross.
The opening goal duly arrived before the midway point in the first half, with Barrada following in to score after Batshuayi had headed a Benjamin Mendy cross off the underside of the bar. The first goal of the new era at the Vélodrome, and indeed Marseille's first goal at all this season, was met by an explosion of noise among the home fans in the great stadium.
They were enthused by their team's start to the game, but there was a warning as Stéphane Darbion volleyed a great chance wide for Troyes following a poor headed clearance by Nicolas Nkoulou. And there was also disbelief when OM squandered a great chance to make it 2-0 seven minutes before the break, Alessandrini somehow keeping the ball in and cutting it back for Barrada, who shot over when Batshuayi, diving in, surely would have scored.
The second goal came three minutes after the restart, however, as a corner came to Diarra 25 yards out and the France midfielder let fly with a superb shot that curled away from Denis Petrić and flew into the top-left corner of the net.
Troyes then crumbled as Batshuayi muscled his way into the box, holding off Thomas Ayasse before shooting across the 'keeper and into the far corner, and Ocampos, only just on as a substitute, ended any doubt about the final outcome by dispatching a stunning overhead kick to make it 4-0 from an Alessandrini cross.
That appeared to be that, but then Alessandrini pounced on hesitant defending two minutes from time and supplied Batshuayi. The Belgian rounded Petrić and was poised to tap into the net, but Alessandrini got there first to poke home. Nevertheless, the former Rennes winger returned the favour at the death, a sumptuous cross with the outside of his boot being turned in by the knee of Batshuayi.