without audience or going, Marseille bowed to Manchester City

After the opening of the scoring by Manchester City, on October 27 in Marseille.

A Champions League match at home, the Vélodrome has been waiting for this for almost seven years. But not in this way, especially not. Not in front of these empty bleachers because of Covid-19. Not in this sad closed door, including on the ground: the Marseillais sank against Manchester City (3-0), Tuesday, October 27. Their second defeat in as many games in this group C, after that in Greece, perhaps even more discouraging, a week ago, against Olympiakos (1-0), an opponent yet much more within his reach.

Without an audience, this Tuesday, the Olympique de Marseille played mostly without going. One statistic, and only one: OM have only struck twice on goal. It is little, much too little. Especially against the evening opponent, who was already the favorite. Throughout the match, the City players kept the ball. Without the Marseillais ever succeeding in disturbing them.

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André Villas-Boas wanted to reproduce the successful coup in the league against Paris-Saint-Germain. In September, his players won 1-0 at the Parc des Princes without the slightest center-forward among the holders.

Against City, the Portuguese coach of Marseille has again established a team without a real No. 9. At the forefront: a trio of attacking midfielders. The ace ! Florian Thauvin, Nemanja Radonjic and Michaël Cuisance mostly chased after the ball.

Shortly after the match, Thauvin spoke about“A defeat difficult to take”. Logical defeat, however, as OM respected more than reason the principles of social distancing with the opposing goalkeeper. “We tried to play low block, to play against the attack”, explains the Marseillais at the microphone of RMC Sport. Before adding, lucidly, about Citizens : “It’s another level [que Marseille], you have to be honest. “

The spectrum of dotted zero

Manchester City, however, appeared at the Velodrome without several players, injured (Sergio Agüero, Gabriel Jesus, Fernandinho, or the French Benjamin Mendy). In the absence of brilliance in the first period, the English club exploited Marseille’s clumsiness. Starting with this failed back pass from Valentin Rongier, close to his own surface: ball recovered immediately by Kevin De Bruyne, decisive passer on the first goal of Ferran Torres (0-1, 18e minute).

Two more goals followed in the second half. First by Ilkay Gündogan (76e), then by Raheem Sterling (81e). Assessment of Marseille replacements? Nothing famous to report for Dario Benedetto, striker still in search of goal this season, entered in the last quarter of an hour. Same story for Dimitri Payet, who is continuing his recovery after recovering from Covid-19.

In August, in the Lisbon bubble, Pep Guardiola lost the tactical battle (3-1) against Lyon in the quarter-finals of the previous Champions League. This time, City’s Catalan coach spent a more peaceful evening against a Marseille team still far too tender for the most prestigious trophy of clubs in Europe.

Only the goalkeeper, Steve Mandanda, as well as Florian Thauvin and Dimitri Payet were already on the field in December 2013, against Dortmund, for the previous Champions League match at the Vélodrome. Results of the first round, during the 2013-2014 edition: six games, six defeats and a quick elimination.

Mandanda, Thauvin, Payet and their current teammates can still avoid a complete failure. Next opportunity: a complicated trip, Tuesday, November 3, on the ground of FC Porto. The former club of Villas-Boas, a coach who will have to rely on more incisive players to hope for the slightest point.

In case of defeat in Portugal in a week, a sad record already awaits the Olympians. The club would then equal the twelve consecutive defeats of the Belgians of Anderlecht (between 2003 and 2005) in the competition.


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