OM score big win at Guingamp
Olympique de Marseille managed a vital 3-1 victory at Guingamp to enhance their prospects of European football and deepen Guingamp's woes.
OM made it back-to-back wins, having seen off Nîmes at Orange Vélodrome in Week 32, while Guingamp are in ever greater trouble, failing to pick up points whereas 18th-placed Dijon were victorious at home to Rennes on Friday evening. OM moved up to provisional fourth, while Guingamp are four points back from Dijon now.
With Mario Balotelli missing through suspension - and also injured - it was down to others to take centre-stage. Luiz Gustavo followed up on his goal against Nîmes by scoring again (4') as he headed a Dimitri Payet cross into Didier Ndong and then reacted fastest to finish right-footed beyond Marc-Aurèle Caillard.
Captain Payet had a double chance (21') and then Guingamp's Nolan Roux missed the target (29') before OM went 2-0 up as Lucas Ocampos, back from injury, powered a header from a Florian Thauvin cross past Caillard. Two minutes earlier Marcs Thuram (38') had a shot saved by Steve Mandanda.
Rudi Garcia's 100th match on the OM bench did result in three points but nerves were jangling when Yeni Ngbakoto, the half-time substitute, pulled a goal back (56') when he greeted Mehdi Merghem's cross and lifted the ball over Mandanda. Guingamp struck the bar (63') through Thuram and the ball bounced down almost on the line.
Guingamp sub Alexandre Mendy (78') spurned a chance before OM sealed the points (90+1') when Valère Germain reached Kevin Strootman's long pass, held off Felix Eboa Eboa and came up with a fine finish for his seventh league goal of the season and second in as many games.
THE PLAYER: Luiz Gustavo
Having made his first start in over two months against Nîmes, Luiz Gustavo again looked like the player who was outstanding last term. The Brazilian, playing in his best central midfield role, scored early and will be vital as OM attempt to secure a European spot.
THE STAT: 7
Lucas Ocampos has been involved in seven goals in his last eight league games, scoring twice and providing five assists.