The heavy atmosphere did not affect the OM players on the first day of Ligue 1. Despite the whistles against Igor Theodor before kick-off, and Dimitri Payet on the bench, the Olympians easily beat Reims at the Orange Velodrome (4-1) on Sunday.
For the first time with OM, the Croatian coach decided to upset the realities of the Sampaoli era by involving five recruits: Jonathan Klaus on the right, Nuno Tavares on the left, Samuel Gigot and Chancel Mbemba in the center of the defense, as well as the goalkeeper. Ruben Blanco, replacing the injured Pau Lopez.
While the recent warm-up match against AC Milan (0-2) has raised its share of troubling questions, the Fujian showed a completely contradictory face on Sunday night. Remoes throttled from the start of the match, and the Olympians pushed hard for dangerous situations with just a few touches of the ball.
Nuno Tavares is the first defender to score in his first match for Marseille in Ligue 1 since Laurent Blanc, who scored twice against Le Havre on August 2, 1997.
In ecstasy, Marseille continued his march forward: Cengiz Under saw his shot deflected by Patrick Bentz on the crossbar (17) and found the evening captain Valentin Roenger standing with a shot from the right (25). Only Bilal Tour made a bit of excitement on goal by Blanco (39), before Nuno Tavares’ break goal. The left side, on loan from Arsenal, performed a fest on his left side: after Mitchell van Bergen fixed it and then planted it in the axle, the Portuguese fired his shot to score low on the ground just before the break (45+2).
If Champenois tried to finish the match after the break, without creating truly dangerous chances, it was Marseille’s rising Luis Suarez who made his mark in the second quarter by scoring his first Ligue 1 brace, 13 minutes after his coming. In a game of pool in the area of Reims, the Colombian hit a low shot (75), and then wrapped up a lightning-counter on an altruistic pass from Cedric Bakambu. Stade de Reims saved the honor in the meantime through Volarine Balogon (84th place) with a non-accidental header taking advantage of the wait-and-see situation of the Marseille defence. The only false note on an almost perfect evening for OM.
Player: Jonathan Klaus
Real fireworks! Jonathan Klaus wanted to take it a step further by signing OM. The right-back arrived from Lens for a €9 million check, and was shining for the first time in Ligue 1 in an Olympic shirt. Active at the beginning of the match, he ignited the Marseille crowd with a small bridge over Bradley Loko (12) before signing a cross with a line, deflected by the unfortunate Wout Faes in his own net (13). The French international (4 caps) continued to present himself to his right side, creating spaces for his teammates. The 29-year-old piston was used in defense during the second period, before leaving to the applause of the Marseille crowd (83rd place).