Look back at vital home victory for Marseille with Sports Mole's minute-by-minute commentary below.
Evening European football fans. Another packed weekend of action from Ligue 1 begins tonight as French heavyweights Marseille and Bordeaux resume hostilities at the Stade Velodrome. Both sides have plenty left to play for and are desperate to steal a march on their rivals by bagging three points tonight.
PSG may have slipped into the distance at the top of Ligue 1 but Marseille are still just about within striking distance. Elie Baup's side will be delighted if they can hang on to second place and secure an automatic return to the Champions League. L'OM are just a point ahead of Lyon in third ahead of this evening's match, so a victory is imperative.
Bordeaux's stuttering league form has picked up slightly since they were knocked out of Europe by Benfica last month. Francis Gillot's side have gone three without defeat but still face a huge task to get back in the Europa League next season. A surprise victory at the Velodrome tonight would be just the thing his team need to boost their late charge into the top half!
Both sides lost big-name strikers in the January to the Premier League, but have coped very differently with their absence. Marseille have not been affected by the departure of Loic Remy, who spent most of his last season in France out injured. Bordeaux on the other hand have been unable to replace Yoan Gouffran's goals, with the visitors struggling to score regularly throughout 2013!
BREAKING TEAM NEWS! Much of the pre-match talk has revolved around Joey Barton, who is in hot water for comments made about PSG defender Thiago Silva earlier this week. It looks like that outburst has cost the English midfielder a place in Baup's starting XI tonight, with Benoit Cheyrou preferred in the side. A full look at both teams for this evening's encounter will follow shortly.
MARSEILLE: Fanni, N'Koulou, Mendes, Morel, Romao, Cheyrou, J.Ayew, Kadir, A.Ayew, Gignac
BORDEAUX: Carrasso, Mariano, Sané, Planus, Trémoulinas, Traoré, Sertic, Faubert, Plasil, Obraniak, Diabaté
Barton's omission is a major surprise for the home side, who have Nicolas N'Koulou available despite suffering a thigh injury against Nice last weekend. Diawara and Abdallah must both settle for a place on the bench, with Jordan and Andre Ayew starting either side of Andre Pierre-Gignac in attack.
The home side are also without infueltial playmaker Mathieu Valbuena, who continues to be troubled by a groin problem. In his absence the creative responsibility will fall to Alaixys Romao and Cheyrou in midfield.
Bordeaux have chosen to start with Julien Faubert in defence, with the former Real Madrid, (yes Madrid), veteran picked ahead of Maxime Poundje at the back.
PREDICTION! The 100th top-flight meeting between these two sides is just a few minutes away, which side will start week 31 with a crucial win? Given the visitors conservative style I will go for a low-scoring clash I am afraid, with Marseille just edging a tight affair by a single Gignac goal.
Both sides are out at the Velodrome, with a huge renovation project nearly complete on the far side. The current capacity of 39,000 will eventually be improved to more than 60,000 ahead of the 2016 European Championships.
Following an appearance on the pitch from former Marseille winger Chris Waddle the visitors get us underway. Bordeaux immediately try a long diagonal pass that goes straight out of play in the far corner. Ayew uses the mistake to face down the wing, but his cross to Gignac is a touch heavy and drifts away from danger.
Jordan Ayew again uses good movement to combine with Gignac but for the second time his cross has too much power and drifts aimlessly over Carrasso's goal. This a high-tempo start from the home side as they chase the opening goal.
Fanni attempts to drive down the wing but is eventually crowded out by two Bordeaux defenders. The visitors regain possession and work the ball wide to Faubert, who sends a brilliant whipped cross into the penalty area. Plasil makes late run forward but cannot make contact. That was much more like it on the counter for Gillot's side.
Ayew wins a free kick after being brought down by Faubert and chooses to take quickly in search of Gignac. The striker peels off unmarked but the pass has too much power and flies behind for a goal kick. At the other end Romao is penalised for a challenge on Traore, giving Bordeaux the chance to cross from 30 yards.
Sertic's delivery is woeful and completely misses a packed penalty area. In 10 minutes I have counter five crosses that fall way below the standard required to unlock defences in a top European league. Both sides must do better.
SHOT! A moment of individual quality has just seen the first meaningful strike goal of the night. Kadir evaded the challenge of Planus in the penalty area to shoot on the turn, but his clever curling effort went wide of the far post. Strength in numbers just about proved enough for Bordeaux on that occasion.
Sertic stops a counter in its tracks after catching Romao with his studs in a late challenge. Bordeaux had two men free on the left wing there and needed a better first touch from their holding midfielder yo launch a quick counter.
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A congested midfield battle is seeing both sides cancel each other out in the early stages, with Obraniak dropping deep to make sure the visitors stay compact without possession. Marseille send successive long throws into the penalty area but on both occasions Fanni fails to find a white shirt.
Andre Ayew bears two players with a pacy burst forward but is stopped before he reaches the final third by a robust tackle from Sertic. Gignac takes up the mantle and drives towards the area, with Ayew following up and eventually forcing Carrasso into a smart stop at his near post. Signs there that Marseille are just starting to enjoy a sustained spell of possession in the opposition half.
Kadir and Jordan Ayew combine brilliantly on the near side, with a deep cross towards Andre Ayew only cut out by an important late interception from Mariano. At the moment Bordeaux are really struggling to match the pace and intensity shown by the home side.
Obraniak and Plasis swap clever touches in central midfield as Bordeaux catch the home side out by switching the play with speed. Faubert has time and space to deliver a cross but just one man to aim for. Marseille use their numerical advantage in the area to eventually clear with ease through Fanni.
Plasil runs deep into the final third and finds Diabate, who once again chooses a safe pass out wide to Faubert. Marseille are happy for the former West Ham man to have possession and close down his attempted cross with relative ease. The visitors need to show more ambition in those areas if they are serious about claiming three points this evening.
L'OM regroup and send the ball forward towards Gignac, who finds space by taking up a wide position. He floats a cross into the area which is cut out by a looping header from Sane. He shows composure to pick out Obraniak as Bordeaux try to build on an improved showing in the last five minutes.
Mariano makes a terrific drive into the final third and has his run picked out with a forward pass from Obraniak. Once again Bordeaux lack support in the penalty area as his deflected cross flies across the penalty area without finding a blue shirt.
Setic sees his drive from distance deflected wide for a corner kick by Mendes. Obraniak's corner is then easily cleared by Cheyrou but Bordeaux recycle possession through Planus, who has a chipped ball towards Diabate cut out by a positive claim from Mandanda. The visitors are definitely growing in confidence as the Velodrome begins to feel a sense of frustration.
Bordeaux are dictating the play in central midfield, with Obraniak and Plus seeing plenty of the ball. Morel stops the visitors advancing with a forceful challenge on Faubert as their duel continues out wide.
The Ayew brothers launch a Marseille counter, with Jordan eventually crowded out by three defenders as a chance to break goes begging for the home side. They definitely look to be missing the creative qualities of Valbuena in the last 15 minutes.
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Obraniak gifts possession back to Marseille with a lazy pass that was never likely to reach Faubert. Andre Ayew drives forward and picks out his brother, who chooses to cut inside and shoot rather than pass to Kadir in the penalty area. His shot is blocked towards the far corner where Marseille win a dangerous free kick thanks to a needless foul from Tremoulinas.
Sane does well to read the attempt at a short free kick from the home side and is out quickly to block Gignac's angled shot from 20 yards. Bordeaux stay focused and clear the following corner kick.
GOAL! Marseille 1-0 Bordeaux (Gignac)
After shading territory in the last 20 minutes Bordeaux have been horribly exposed on the counter. Gignac peels off his marker and beats the offside trap to race towards goal after a precise pass inside from Cheyrou. The forward darts beyond Sane and flicks the ball calmly past Carrasso for his 17th goal of the season.
YELLOW CARD! Bordeaux are presented with an immediate chance to respond after bring awarded a free kick 20 yards from goal. Obraniak sends the ball straight into the wall and Marseille are quickly away on the counter. Jordan Ayew drives towards the final third and is fortunate to win a corner kick off Trémoulinas. Plasil is furious with the decision and is cautioned for his angry protest to the referee.
HALF-TIME Marseille 1-0 Bordeaux
Quite remarkably after a fairly ordinary first 45 minutes Bordeaux are behind after pressing the self-destruct button. Quite why Planus was trying to play offside on his own is anyone's guess, but his lapse in concentration has cost the visitors dear. Gignac is a seasoned striker and made no mistake from close range to give his side the lead at half-time.
For much of the opening period a distinct lack of quality in the final third saw both sides struggle to break the deadlock. Marseille have definitely missed Valbuena and perhaps even Barton as a willing runner in central midfield. Plasil and Obraniak have been neat and tidy on the ball for Bordeaux, but are yet to provide lone striker Diabate with the chance to aim in anger at Mandanda.
If Baup's men can keep a clean sheet in the second half they will move to within three points of league leaders Paris Saint-Germain, and perhaps more importantly four clear of Lyon in the battle for a Champions League place.
Bordeaux have struggled for goals all season but surely must find the target tonight to keep any faint hopes of Europa League qualification alive. Nicolas Maurice-Belay and Hadi Sacko are both positive options from the bench for Gillot, who has curiously only named six substitutes this evening.
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Without wishing to upset Bordeaux fans the home side are yet to lose this season when Gignac has scored. The forward also scored the only goal at Nice last week and is quickly helping Marseille fans forget all about the loss of Loic Remy.
By Ligue 1 standards Baup has a very strong bench at his disposal if he wants to make changes. Morgan Amalfitano could come on as he continues his comeback from injury, while Sougou and Barton are also likely candidates for action this evening.
We are just a few moments away from resuming at the Velodrome as Marseille bid to maintain their narrow advantage. Bordeaux must surely commit more men forward in search of an equaliser, which should lead to a more open, expansive second half.
SUBSTITUTION: Gillot has decided to make a change at the interval, with Mariano replaced by Maurice-Belay. That means Faubert will revert to full-back as Marseille get us underway in the second half.
Bordeaux make a decent start to the second period as Traore and Trémoulinas win a corner kick after a exchanging passes out wide. Obraniak's delivery initially looks weak but Mandanada's decision to punch is poor one as he makes little contact with the ball. Luckily for the home side a white shirt is first to react and the home side eventually clear their lines.
Cheyrou and Romao keep possession for the home side before finding Kadir out wide. He is robbed of the ball by Faubert as Bordeaux noticeably press much higher up the pitch early in the second half. His long pass is aimed towards Belay but Morel does well to get a late touch and send the ball behind for another corner kick.
Mandanda claims with ease as he forgets all about that earlier mistake with a composed catch under virtually no pressure. Bordeaux recycle possession and despite probing are still struggling to deliver that killer pass in the final third.
Weak shouts for a penalty from Diabate are quickly waved away as N'Koulou changes his mind late to control with the top of his chest. That is the first sign of indecision we have seen all night from either Marseille central defender. At the other end Gignac once again finds space out wide and beats Planus easily before crossing into the six-yard box. Both Ayew brothers fail to read the pass as a powerful drive sails out for a throw-in.
MISS! A rush of blood to the head from Faubert sees Bordeaux waste their best chance of the night. The veteran did brilliantly to swap a one-two with Planus and meet a backheel to drive beyond the full-back. After reaching the penalty area he fails to decide between a shot or cross and sends an aimless deflected drive at least five yards wide of Mandanda's goal.
YELLOW CARD! Mendes proves too strong for Diabate to win an important header and clear for Marseille. The home side drive forward as Fanni's long throw reaches the box, but Morel is booked after just catching Mariano as he attempted to meet Kadir's soft pass.
N'Koulou does well to prevent Obraniak winning a corner out wide as his sliding tackle comes pack off the Polish playmaker. Bordeaux quickly re-establish possession through Trémoulinas, who should do better with a tame cross into the penalty area. Once again the visitors had just Diabate in the box, which is just not good enough at 1-0 down away from home.
SUBSTITUTION! Bordeaux make their second change to swap Traore for pacy French youth international Saivet. Marseille use the change of formation to launch a counter through Gignac, who is stopped from striking at goal by a vital covering challenge from Planus.
SHOT! Andre Ayew and Kadir combine on the left to find Gignac in space 12 yards from goal. The forward has time to pick his spot but scuffs his shot with a strange contact that sees his wayward strike scoop well wide of the target.
Marseille continue to threaten with pace on the counter as Jordan Ayew wins a corner kick after his run and cross is blocked by a last-ditch lunge from Trémoulinas. The home side's first corner since the break is taken by Cheyrou, but Mendes is unable to reach a lofted cross towards the far post.
SAVE! Bordeaux are too slow with an attempted counter and allow Marseille to regroup in numbers. Trémoulinas still manages to find Diabate with a long pass, with the striker holding up play before laying off for Belay. His low strike is well saved by Mandanda at the far post, with Diabate just failing to make enough contact to turn the rebound home from close range. At last a positive run and strike at goal from a supporting Bordeaux midfielder.
Sane strides out of defence to link up with Obraniak and launch a quick counter for the visitors. With little on the defender decides to shoot from at least 30 yards, but a poor effort fails to test Mandanda.
SUBSTITUTION! Baup makes his first change of the night as Marseille swap Jordan Ayew for Sougou, who comes on in a straight swap to occupy the right-hand side.
MISS! Bordeaux have dominated possession in the last 15 minutes, with Marseille happy to defend deep and challenge the visitors to break down their stubborn resistance. From a corner Obraniak finds Saivet unmarked, but despite rising high the substitute can only send his header crashing over the crossbar from close range. That was a genuine opportunity for Gillot's side to equalise and perhaps their first clear-cut chance of the match.
SUBSTITUTION! Gillot makes his final change of the night as French under-19 international Sacko comes on to replace Sertic in central midfield. That represents the last throw of the dice for Bordeaux as a holding midfielder is withdrawn.
Sougou gets involved for the first time since coming on, beating his marker before sending a teasing low cross deep into the penalty area. Gignac is at full stretch but just fails to make contact as Bordeaux just about stay in the match.
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SUBSTITUTION! Baup makes a conservative change as Kadir makes way for Barton to shore things up in midfield. The Marseille fans are clearly pleased to see their Englishman and greet him with a rapturous reception.
WIDE! Marseille come close to sealing the win through Gignac, who elects to head Fanni's cross towards goal from just inside the penalty area. The clever effort catches Carrasso unawares but falls well wide of his near post, much to the goalkeeper's relief.
The visitors look out of ideas as Ayew draws a foul from Faubert with a mazy dribble out wide. Gignac uses the free kick to waste time in the corner, but his heavy legs eventually concede possession under pressure from Mariano.
Belay uses his fresh legs to find space out wide and send a dangerous cross into the penalty area. Once again Bordeaux fail to get options forward in what has been the story of the night for Gillot's side. A lack of ambition has definitely blunted their hopes of picking up a positive result at the Velodrome. At the other Andre Ayew eats up more time by smashing wide from a tight angle after using Sougou's burst as a decoy.
Marseille continue to run down the clock as Barton lashes just wide with strike that had dip and swerve aplenty. Bordeaux are handed a late chance to get good delivery forward as Romao brings down Saivet around 30 yards from goal.
Obraniak's cross is well placed but a combination of Barton and Gignac do enough to clear the danger under pressure. Bordeaux appeal for a penalty in vain after Diabate tangled with Mendes, but in truth there were so many bodies in the box any contact was difficult to pick out. Marseille use the final minute to swap Andre Ayew for Amalfitano, who comes on for his first action in nearly two months.
FULL-TIME Marseille 1-0 Bordeaux
Well once again Gignac has made the difference for Marseille in a tight clash. His 17th goal of the season means that Baup's side have triumphed 1=0 tonight for the ninth time this season.
That victory means Marseille are now four points behind PSG, for 24 hours at least. L'OM will anxiously await tomorrow's clash between the league leaders and Rennes and hope for more dropped points to keep their faint title challenge alive. Importantly for the home side they are also now four points clear of Lyon in the battle for a Champions League place.
That just about does it for Sports Mole's coverage from Ligue 1 tonight. Thanks for joining us and be sure to check back in this weekend for comprehensive coverage of football across the continent.