After a successful season according to the figures, OM nevertheless seem to have missed the mark on several occasions in a 2022/23 exercise which could have had much more flavor.
It is difficult to qualify the Olympique de Marseille season, as the game proposed by Igor Tudor was spectacular and pleasant to follow for the many supporters filling the Stade Vélodrome at each match. But when the time comes to take stock, the Marseillais can harbor many regrets.
Olympique de Marseille returned to the Champions League, two years after the last, by going to face Tottenham in London. Solid, the Marseillais lost (2-0). But OM could believe in qualifying against weaker opponents on paper. However, Igor Tudor’s men never knew how to make the difference against Frankfurt and conceded two avoidable defeats (0-1, 2-1).
Between these two games against the German club, the Marseillais won twice against Sporting Lisbon. The Phocaeans showed character by turning the situation around in a badly embarked first game after an opening score from the Portuguese. But OM were able to manage these two games afterwards.
There was hope ahead of the final group stage game against Tottenham and Chancel Mbemba even propelled his team-mates to the top of a tight group before half-time. Returning from the locker room, Clément Lenglet equalized, OM pushed with Vel’, but narrowly missed the winning goal with Sead Kolasinac in particular.
At the end of the match, Pierre-Émile Hojberg destroyed Marseille’s dreams of a first qualification in the round of 16 since 2012. Final score 1-2, OM did not even go to the Europa League and finished 4th in their group.
After generally controlled matches against Hyères and Rennes, OM welcomed Paris SG to the Stade Vélodrome for a gala match in the round of 16 of the Coupe de France. Welded and solid, the Marseillais suffocated their opponent. Igor Tudor’s tactical move embodied by Valentin Rongier’s perfect performance paid off. And the Provençals brought down PSG in a molten Velodrome stadium thanks to a jewel from Ruslan Malinovskyi.
The road to a first trophy since 2012 was then clear. The draw for the quarter-finals was also very favorable to Alexis Sanchez’s teammates who are to receive Annecy, resident of Ligue 2. Logically ahead of the score at half-time, OM waste an incredible number of opportunities to make the break . And the drama occurs, Annecy equalizes on the return from the locker room and passes in front on the hour mark thanks to Kévin Mouanga.
An unknown, François Régis Mughe gives an ounce of hope to the Marseillais by miraculously pulling off a penalty shootout for his first professional match. Marseille trembles, not Annecy. The Phocaeans again wasted another opportunity and seemed overwhelmed. Surely the most painful defeat of the season.
In Ligue 1, the Marseillais still have a tiny chance of winning second place with Brest and Ajaccio still to face. At the same time, the Lensois dolphin will try not to make a mistake against Ajaccio and Auxerre. But OM can harbor regrets. Because, if OM are five points from this important place for direct qualification in the Champions League group stage, it is also because OM have not been able to take the advantage in the big meetings. .
Offering an offensive and pleasant game throughout the season, the Marseillais missed out against the big players in Ligue 1 this year, losing both games against Paris SG. During the 3-0 conceded at home, the Olympians could even come back to within two points of the Parisian leader. Their defeat moved them 8 points behind Mbappé’s teammates, ending the suspense for the title. Against RC Lens, Marseille responded but came up against the solidity of Franck Haise’s men and their realism.
The second-best team in the championship away from home, one point behind PSG after the defeat at Lens, OM have had a lot of trouble receiving this season. 5th team at home, the Marseillais have only won 10 games out of the 18 games played so far at the Vélodrome, far behind the 16 Lensoise victories. They were even beaten at home by Ajaccio, already relegated.
Igor Tudor’s men, however, were able to show character by winning in the last moments in Monaco or Lyon for the first time since 2007. Leaving the Cengiz Under teammates to exult a few times.
Ironically, last season, it was a goal from Ignatius Ganago in the 96th minute of the last match of the season for RC Lens that allowed OM to take second place in the standings. But this year, RC Lens seems set not to give gifts to Southerners. With Marseille’s defeat against LOSC last weekend (2-1), the season seems to be over. Verdict on June 3.
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