Thauvin and Marseille sweep away Caen
Florian Thauvin hit a hat-trick as Olympique de Marseille romped to a 5-1 win at SM Caen on Sunday to give themselves real hope of a top-five finish.
SM Caen 1-5 Olympique de Marseille
With Girondins de Bordeaux three points ahead of them in fifth place and playing at Dijon FCO later in the day, Marseille needed to extend their fine run in Caen to up the pressure on Jocelyn Gourvennec's men. They had not lost in seven visits to the Stade Michel d'Ornano and immediately made themselves comfortable again.
When a cross was not cleared, Thauvin chested the ball up and smashed a volley beyond Rémy Vercoutre (3') before crossing for Maxime Lopez to double OM's lead (5'). Not a bad start for a side that had failed to score in their previous three away matches.
Caen had had half-chances in between Marseille's strike, and when they had a clear-cut one, Ivan Santini sublimely chipped Yohann Pelé for a 14th league goal of the season to bring the hosts back into it (9').
But for Pelé, Yann Karamoh would have fired Caen level (12'). Instead, when the home defence allowed Dimitri Payet time and space to size up a shot, the France international's drive was pushed out by Vercoutre to the onrushing Lopez, who — at 19 — became the youngest OM player to score a Ligue 1 brace in the last 30 years (27').
Had Ronny Rodelin not missed his kick when trying to connect with a Karamoh cross, he surely would have pulled one back (34') before Alaeddine Yahia very nearly scrambled the ball over the line in the dying seconds of the first half. Rod Fanni somehow managed to deny the Caen defender, though came desperately close to putting through his own goal (44').
If Caen had scored when they applied pressure early in the second half, OM's nerves would surely have been fragile, but after Karamoh had forced another save from Pelé (57'), the home defence disintegrated to allow Thauvin to add a fourth on the counter-attack (63').
William Vainqueur should have scored a fifth from a Thauvin cross but steered his shot wide (71') and Bafétimbi Gomis forced former Olympique Lyonnais team-mate Vercoutre into a save (72') before Thauvin brought down a Sanson cross and finished expertly with virtually the last kick of the game (89').
THE PLAYER: Florian Thauvin
Fifteen goals this season now for the former SC Bastia man, who is in the form of his life.
THE STAT: 8
This was Marseille's fourth win in an eight-game unbeaten run.