CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON - Monday, February 21, 2011
Marseille proved to be too tough to handle for Carlos Bocanegra and St. Etienne, charging into a two-goal lead and never looking back.
Bocanegra resumed his regular duties in the backline Saturday evening in a full ninety for head coach Christophe Galtier.
The hosts found themselves on thin ice early on nearly conceding a goal after only four minutes. Dimitri Payet set up the chance with a nice diagonal run from the left and a cross into the box that defender Gabriel Heinze leaped at, only to direct toward goal.
Fortunately for the home fans, Marseille netminder Steve Mandanda displayed excellent reflexes in swatting away the wayward clearance.
St. Etienne's Bakary Sakpo continued the threat in the 12th minute with an individual blast from 30 yards out that skipped inches from the left post.
Marseille saw their best chance of the first half in the 35th minute but came up against a resilient wall of defense. Off a Lucho corner on the left side, Benoit Cheyrou struck on target from the top of the box, but Laurent Batlles was there on the line to deflect back into play.
Souleymane Diawara followed up with another strike, but Bocanegra again cleared from the line to the relief of netminder Jérémie Janot.
The first half concluded scoreless, but the hosts upped the ante in the second half to take the lead. They needed only three minutes to threaten with a cross from Loic Rémy on the right side for a Brandão header that required a nimble swat by Janot.
Lucho should have been sent of in the 57th minute after getting tangled up with Batlles and lashing out with his leg over the downed Frenchman's face. However Referee Ruddy Buquet only displayed a yellow for the Argentine.
The hosts finally found the lead in the 68th minute after Taye Taiwo delivered a long ball in from the left midfield for Gignac. With his back to the net, the Frenchman found Lucho streaming into the box for the open look at goal and the blast past Janot for the lead.
St. Etienne let another slip by in the 79th minute after failing to clear a cross into the box from Taiwo on the left. Jordan Ayew caught up with the loose ball at the edge of the box and found Rémy at the back post to slot home for the second goal.
Eighty-second minute substitute Christophe Landrin bucketed one for the visitors from short distance after Yoric Ravet relayed a Payet feed, but it was too little too late.
Down a few notches to seventh place, St. Etienne return home to face OGC Nice next Saturday.