Photo credit: Panoramic

Olympique de Marseille won against AJ Auxerre, this Sunday evening, on behalf of the 33rd day of Ligue 1 (2-1).

After the defeat of Paris Saint-Germain against Lorient a little earlier in the day (1-3), Olympique de Marseille had a good carrot to seize this Sunday evening. The Marseille club could reduce its gap with the defending champion to 5 small points. But the band at Tudor rubbed shoulders with a team from Auxerre who also played very big since the promoted hopes to survive in the elite at the end of this season with four runs. And the AJA is giving itself all the means to do so, as evidenced by its excellent momentum over the past two months.

The tactical balance of power of this match was expected. As often at the Vélodrome, the key, for the Marseillais, was to open breaches to force the lock of a low and dense block. Christophe Pélissier had concocted a good grid to reduce the spaces, while being aware of the athletic impact of OM. An Olympian formation which still relied on its usual ingredients: high and intense pressing, verticality and maximum risk-taking on the offensive level.

AJA close to the perfect heist

This resulted in a rather paradoxical meeting, where Marseille had control of the ball quite overwhelmingly, while using the corridors to multiply the crosses. But this approach has long served the purpose of an admirable tenacity AJA team. And Radu, the excellent Romanian goalkeeper back on his feet for this trip, did not have to stop in a first period marked by failures from Vitinha, who weighed as much as he lacked precision in the last gesture (12th, 17th).

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Precision, Birama Touré did not lack him. The Auxerre captain showered the Vélodrome by triggering a marvelous volley in the top corner of Paul Lopez on a second ball which trailed (0-1, 33rd). From then on, the plans of both teams were even more visible, and the match turned to attack-defense. At the end of the first period, but especially at the start of the second, when the entry of the disconcerting Nuno Tavares rebalanced Marseille’s offensive animation, this match for a long time looked like a handball possession time where the Auxerre rearguard pushed back all assaults to protect his property as a fortress.

OM reverse the situation in three minutes

With a lot of courage, intelligence but also a touch of luck – post from Tavares (56th) – AJA’s strategy worked for a long time. So Tudor threw his last cards by bringing in Payet and Guendouzi, the unloved, to bring extra creativity and fighting spirit. Paid coaching, even if the two French internationals did not directly rock the meeting. Ünder, tireless, blew up the Vélodrome by equalizing with a cross shot (1-1, 75th), before Alexis Sanchez delivered his team on a winning shot after an appeal at the limit of offside (2- 1, 77e). AJA, who had taken a hit on the head, tried to revolt at the end of the match but Abline was too tender (83rd), then Sakhi found Lopez on his way (90th). OM capitalize and put pressure on Lens. The AJA, which does not take any points, is proud to continue its maintenance mission.

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