France-Ligue 1Soccer News


A second-half fightback from Olympique de Marseille secured a vital three points in their pursuit of UEFA Champions League qualification, defeating mid-table Nantes 3-2 to extend their winning streak at the Orange Vélodrome to five matches.

Coming into the contest with just one win in their previous five league matches, Nantes looked to defend deep and frustrate Marseille in the early exchanges. However, it didn’t take long for ‘Les Phocéens’ to breach the visitors’ back-line, as Amine Harit raced through on goal, only to shank a close-range effort wide of the target.

Having survived an opening 20 minutes dominated by Marseille, it was Nantes who took a shock lead against the run of play, when Andrei Girotto rose emphatically to head home a brilliant corner from Wylan Cyprien. Undeterred by the setback, the hosts came within inches of finding an immediate response, as Cédric Bakambu rounded Alban Lafont, before rolling the ball agonisingly across the face of goal.

With HT approaching and the home support growing restless, Marseille were gifted a golden opportunity to draw level when Nicolas Pallois upended Boubacar Kamara in the box. Dimitri Payet assumed responsibility for the spot-kick, and the Frenchman clinically dispatched the ball beyond Lafont into the bottom-left corner. Despite being pegged back just five minutes before the break, Nantes remarkably regained the lead two minutes later, as Marcus Coco raced onto a rebound inside the box and volleyed the ball superbly into the roof of the net.

Having endured a goalless second half in each of their previous three matches, Marseille knew that a fast start was essential after the break. Much to the relief of ‘Les Phocéens’, they were soon awarded a second penalty of the evening when Fábio clumsily brought down Gerson, leaving Payet to drill home from the spot to bring the scores level again. With half an hour remaining, Marseille looked to up the tempo in search of a winning goal, and this finally paid off with 15 minutes left on the clock as a Gerson pull-back was confidently swept home by Harit for his fourth goal of the season.

Unsurprisingly, Nantes continued to demonstrate their fighting qualities up until the final whistle, with the best chance falling to Osman Bukari who saw a chipped effort impressively thwarted by Pau López. Despite their best efforts, there was to be a late sting for the visitors as Coco was dismissed for a second bookable offence, giving Marseille the numerical advantage to comfortably secure victory.

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