Olympique de Marseille remained in the hunt for a Champions League qualifying spot with a 2-0 victory away at FC Metz in Ligue 1 action on Friday evening.
Heading into this match OM had lost their previous four matches in a row—a disastrous spell which saw them not only drop out of the running for the title, but also lose their grip on one of the three Champions League qualifying places.
Indeed, heading into this weekend’s Ligue 1 matches Marcelo Bielsa’s side had fallen below AS Monaco, who occupied the third spot, and AS Saint-Etienne in fourth.
In Metz, however, they faced one of the league’s two worst teams, and managed to end their dreadful run of form.
They deserve credit for doing so. Les Grenats have seen their form improve of late, while Marseille’s confidence was so low heading into this fixture that nothing could be taken for granted.
Andre-Pierre Gignac was the star of the show and the game’s outstanding individual.
The France international opened the scoring on 38 minutes when he profited from an error from Metz keeper Anthony Mfa Mezui to fire home inside the box.
The goal was Gignac’s 19th in the top fight this season, and his 100th career Ligue 1 goal…it also gave OM a firm grip on the contest.
Andre Ayew had a chance to double Marseille’s lead soon after half-time, although he was thwarted by Mezui, who made a point-blank reaction save to prevent the Ghana international from making it 2-0.
The Gabon keeper couldn’t repeat the trick on 62 minutes when Gignac, bursting through the Metz defence, beating their offside trap, found himself one-on-one with the stopper, before beating him with a delightful chip.
The goal was a mark of Gignac’s class and will come as some encouragement to West Ham United fans, with the accomplished forward being lined up for a summer move to East London.
The result sees Marseille overtake Saint-Etienne and move into fourth spot in the table, although they remain two points behind Monaco having played a game more.
Metz’s relegation to Ligue 2 will be confirmed should Stade de Reims beat En Avant de Guingamp on Saturday evening.