Marseille avoided disaster in the dying seconds against Metz (1-1) during a 5th day of Ligue 1 that Rennes is sure to finish in first place after its great success Saturday in Saint-Etienne (3-0).
The laughing faces of the Bretons in Geoffroy-Guichard were followed in the evening by half-relieved, half-sulky smirks from the Olympians, saved from the sinking in added time by a parade from Steve Mandanda (90th + 2) then a goal from Morgan Sanson ( 90th + 5).
In a Velodrome stadium populated by a few thousand supporters, restrictions linked to Covid oblige, the locals showed little and came out of it in a somewhat miraculous way like last week against Lille (1-1), where the late equalizer of Valère Germain (85th) had saved the furniture.
Still silent this season, the N.9 Olympian Dario Benedetto has multiplied but his pass for Dimitri Payet (15th) has given nothing, nor his attempts on crosses from Hiroki Sakai (18th) and Florian Thauvin (39th), the latter ending with an acrobatic return that is as aesthetic as it is unframed.
Metz, for his part, has long been content to wait for a Marseille fault, a minimalist tactic based almost solely on the flashes of Ibrahima Niane.
The 21-year-old Senegalese center forward failed to reproduce his saving double from last weekend against Reims (2-1), despite a face-to-face meeting in front of Steve Mandanda (20th) and an opportunity annihilated by Boubacar Kamara (37th).
But it was he who offered a fourth point this season to the Messins on a toe and uncrossed header (71st) following a cross from Matthieu Udol deposited between Duje Caleta-Car and Yuto Nagatomo.
After this happy draw, the Marseillais have only eight points in the standings, two lengths from the podium before the matches on Sunday.
The pressure does not weaken on the shoulders of coach André Villas-Boas, forced to make a perilous trip next weekend in Lyon.
- "Anecdotal classification" for Rennes -
Not far from there in Saint-Etienne, Stade Rennes put an end to the invincibility of the Greens this season thanks to a successful performance to credit the scorers Nayef Aguerd (33rd), Serhou Guirassy (52nd) and Adrien Hunou ( 89th).
Less than a month before their first steps in the Champions League, the Bretons have 13 points after five days of the Championship, two more than Lille who won Friday (2-0) against Nantes and three ahead of the Stéphanois.
Whatever happens, the team led by Julien Stéphan is guaranteed to remain the leader at the end of the weekend, even in the event of victory for Montpellier in Dijon and / or Lens in Nîmes also on Sunday.
"The classification remains anecdotal but not the performance. It's a successful match on our part," said the Bretons coach, solid in defense and ultra efficient in front.
"I liked the general balance of the team, the collective mastery, the courage we have shown, the performance of our environment, the ability to defend together and take out the balls after recovery," he said. he appreciates.
The Rennais concretized their domination through their summer recruits Aguerd and Guirassy.
The Moroccan central defender from Dijon placed an unstoppable header in front of Timothée Kolodziejczak on a corner (33rd) before Guirassy made the addition of an acrobatic recovery (52nd).
The former Amiens striker already has three goals under his new colors and even eight in L1 in 2020, the highest total!
His replacement Hunou closed the Rennes festival with a lob on Jessy Moulin (89th) who drew cries of anger from Claude Puel, helpless coach despite the changes made.
Next weekend, Saint-Etienne will travel to the promoted Lensois while Rennes will host Reims.
© 2020 AFP