Ligue 1, Round 12, 12/11/23
In a game devoid of clear-cut chances, Jonathan Gradit netted a dramatic late winner as RC Lens beat Olympique de Marseille (1-0) at the Bollaert on Sunday.
It has been a low-scoring gameweek in Ligue 1, and the first half afforded little hope for this match being an exception to the rule. It was a half played in fits and starts with fouls preventing the game from gaining any rhythm. Elye Wahi had the only chance of the half, but his shot from the edge of the box was rushed and went comfortably wide of Pau Lopez’s right-hand post.
The second half was hardly any better in an attacking sense. Wahi and Neil El Aynaoui, making his first Ligue 1 start, had half chances but neither good direct their headers on goal. Amine Harit then had a good chance to open the scoring, but he lacked the composure to finish the move that he had himself started, blazing over from inside the box.
The first major chance then came in the 99th minute. Wesley Saïd brought the ball down in the box before getting off an effort that beat Pau Lopez, but not Jordan Veretout, who was in the right position to block on the line. The Frenchman was on the line for a corner just two minutes later, but he couldn’t do anything about Gradit’s header. The Bollaert erupted. It wasn’t the prettiest game, but Lens sealed the three points, which sees them rise to sixth. Marseille go into the international break in the bottom half of the table.
Lens player ratings
Brice Samba – 6 – didn’t have a lot to do but was up to the task whenever he was called upon. His distribution, as always, was massively impressive.
Facundo Medina – 5
Kevin Danso – 6
Jonathan Gradit – 7 – the Frenchman was solid defensively and was also the hero. A striker would have been proud of his near-post-headed effort.
Massadio Haidara – 5
Neil El Aynaoui – 6 – the young Frenchman was making his first Ligue 1 start and he was keen to make an impression. He was a livewire and sought to take risks and break the lines. It didn’t always come off, but the intent was there and that is more than can be said for many of those on the pitch on Sunday night.
Salis Abdul Samed – 5
Ruben Aguilar -6
Adrien Thomasson – 5
Florian Sotoca – 5
Elye Wahi – 4 – couldn’t get involved in the game and cut an increasingly frustrated figure as the game progressed.
Marseille player ratings
Pau Lopez – 5
Renan Lodi – 4
Leonardo Balerdi – 5
Samuel Gigot – 6
Jonathan Clauss – 5
Jordan Veretout – 6
Geoffrey Kondogbia – 6
Joaquin Correa – 5 – he has looked disconnected and out of sync with his teammates for much of his time so far at OM, but he made some interesting runs, some of which were picked out by his teammates.
Amine Harit – 6 – few players took any risk for Marseille. The same cannot be said of Harit, who was the beating heart for OM going forward. His creative efforts were ultimately in vain, but he almost provided a late, late equaliser for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who couldn’t get enough contact on the cross to turn it home.
Ismaila Sarr – 4
Vitinha – 4