Rennes dominate Marseille to leave Champions League spot up for grabs going into final matchday in Ligue 1
Marseille fell to third in the Ligue 1 table after they were beaten 2-0 by Rennes at Roazhon Par in Ligue 1. Benjamin Bourigeaud and Lovro Majer scored the goals that saw Rennes move up to fourth to leave themselves with a chance of sneaking into third during the final round of fixtures. Marseille must get at least a point next week at home to Strasbourg to ensure Champions League qualification.
Rennes' French midfielder Benjamin Bourigeaud (C) celebrates with Rennes French forward Martin Terrier (R) after scoring a goal during the French L1 football match between Stade Rennais FC and Olympique de Marseille at The Roazhon Park Stadium in Rennes,
Such was the home side’s dominance that their opening goal came as no surprise, still less surprising was the fact that Terrier was at the heart of it.
The French forward raced onto a through ball before bypassing five Marseille defenders with a pass to Benjamin Bourigeaud.
When Rennes doubled their lead 20 minutes later, Terrier was key again.
Charging down the left touchline, Terrier whipped in an excellent ball which found Lovro Majer.
Terrier could have sealed victory before halftime when Bourigeaud found time and space to fire in a cross but, perhaps for the first time, a Marseille defender was able to get a block in.
Half-time came and went with little impact on the balance of play.
Rennes continued to dominate and Marseille somehow seemed to be outnumbered in defence, midfield and attack with veteran goalkeeper Steven Mandanda easily their most influential player.
The visitors, who have the division's best away record, started the match without a recognised striker on the pitch and Jorge Sampaoli dallied in making a change despite his team’s struggles.
It was no coincidence that when Bamba Dieng was introduced on 65 minutes, Marseille had their best spell.
This result, and others in Ligue 1 this evening, means Marseille surrender second place and now must get at least a point next week at home to Strasbourg to ensure Champions League qualification.
Rennes have given themselves a real chance at sneaking into third if results go their way on matchday 38.
Why did Sampaoli wait so long to introduce a forward? Marseille looked unenthused virtually from kick-off but when they did hold possession they looked perfectly competent through midfield but utterly bereft in the final third.
The breakdown of their attacks - so often failing due to the lack of a true striker to play up to - was fertile ground for Rennes counter-attacks and indeed it was from just such a failed build-up that the opening goal came.
Indeed, when Dieng was eventually introduced, his runs in behind gave Matteo Guendouzi a target and twice the Senegalese forward got on the end of these moves.
The refusal to use Arkadiusz Milik, who was fit enough to be named on the bench, is another curious decision on Sampaoli’s part.
Marseille's Argentine head coach Jorge Sampaoli (L) shouts instructions at his players during the French L1 football match between Stade Rennais FC and Olympique de Marseille at The Roazhon Park Stadium in Rennes, western France on May 14, 2022.
Image credit: Getty Images
Player of the Match
Martin Terrier was on another level to his team-mates in the comprehensive win over Marseille. The former Lyon forward has enjoyed a brilliant season already and showed his quality from the opening minute.
Terrier provided two fine assists in the first half and probably should have scored at least once on the balance of the chances he was able to create for himself.
He had five shots in the match and equally impressively won back possession five times through interceptions or tackles won.
12' Goal! Rennes - Martin Terrier races onto a through ball and cuts it back into the path of Benjamin Bourigeaud who places his shot out of Steven Mandanda's reach.
25' Chance Marseille - Matteo Guendouzi shoots across the box and the sliding Gerson is inches away from an equaliser.
35' Goal! Rennes - Terrier charges down the left wing and whips a cross into the path of Lovro Majer who scores.
40' Chance Rennes - Once again Terrier is the creator but this time Bourigeaud can't get his shot on target.
45' Chance Rennes - Bourigeaud turns creator and Terrier has time to shoot but a Marseille defender gets a crucial block.
69' Chance Marseille - Bamba Dieng races onto a Guendouzi through ball, takes a touch around one defender but slips at the crucial moment.
Marseille failed to score away at Rennes for the first time in 16 seasons. Despite an excellent season and the best away record in the club's history, Marseille were dreadfully disappointing in a very important match.
Rennes won the ball back 46 times in the victory over Marseille. From the opening minute of the match, it was clear that the hosts had come to play.