At the time of challenging FC Porto on the Atlantic coast, the knockout stages of the Champions League already seemed more distant than the horizon line for Olympique de Marseille. Ninety minutes later, they’re just a mirage. The best. On the lawn of the champions of Portugal, the Marseillais scuttled themselves by dint of playing with fear in the stomach. That, no doubt, to equal the sad record of 12 consecutive defeats in C1. Sadly successful mission for OM, corrected at the Dragon Stadium (0-3). An evening all the more complicated as OM is the main responsible for its sinking.
To reassure yourself and move forward in this Champions League after two defeats in as many matches, Andre Villas-Boas had nevertheless decided to go back to basics. The Portuguese coach of OM lined up the typical team of last season, the one who had scratched the second place in Ligue 1 with desire and intensity, more than talent. And on the first moments of the match: we believed in it. Full of envy, the Marseillais monopolized the ball and pressed high to recover it. Porto was suffocated in his camp. But as against Manchester City, OM offered the opening of the scoring on an uncertain recovery, by Caleta-Car this time. After two favorable counters, Corona found Marega alone against goal (1-0, 4e). Cruel.
Stunned by this unexpected opening of the scoring, OM however had the opportunity to turn their heads straight up a few minutes later, when Thauvin got a penalty after a slalom from the surface (8e). Substitute against City, Dimitri Payet was responsible for pulling it. And to miss it. The strike from the Marseille technical leader went over the goal. Terrible. Stunned, the Olympians were distraught, and missed more and more easy passes, like a Caleta-Car completely missing its crampons. Alone Kamara and Amavi displayed a desire worthy of a C1 match, while no prisoner woke his troops. Problem: Amavi offered an unexpected penalty to Porto, still harmless, by tackling Corona late. Offered on a plate, the goal of the break was then scored by Sergio Olivieira (2-0.26e), which took Mandanda on the wrong foot. The end of the first period turned to ordeal for the Marseillais who chattered their knees and teeth, unable to revolt. And yet not really dominated by an opportunistic FC Porto.
OM in distress
Apathetic after returning from the locker room, OM was subject to the law of the Portuguese, much more technically fair. But it was especially mentally that Marseille weakened, feeling the record of twelve consecutive defeats approaching, and unable to curb the trend. Worse still: the players of Villas-Boas displayed no desire, no spirit of revolt. Even the substitutes were reluctant to leave for the warm-up. At the hour of play, Sanson finally allowed OM to enter the Portuguese area, in vain. Collective, Marseille’s failure was total. Even Kamara, who had been afloat until then, gradually sank into Phocaean nothingness.
To wake up his troops, Andre Villas-Boas finally decided to move the lines. Michael Cuisance and Luis Henrique came into play (64e), with the mission to do better than their teammates Sanson and Payet. Which was not very complicated, given the scores returned by them. And if the entry of Cuisance brought a little more binding in the midfield, the two men could not do anything to avoid the sinking. The hammer blow was signed Luis Dias, author of a magnificent roll-up, after a lightning breakthrough from Corona (3-0, 69e). Porto’s third goal, the first truly built. And the one who came to destroy OM.
The end of the match saw Marseille try to save the honor, while exposing themselves to Portuguese cons. But history was written, and saw OM make their entry into the pantheon of losers in the Champions League. With this third defeat in this C1 2020-21, OM now have 12 consecutive matches in a row in the Champions League, and equal Anderlecht’s record in this area. Before doing better in three weeks when receiving the same FC Porto? After all, the Marseillais would thus become, again, forever the first to lose 13 C1 matches in a row.