Marseille’s swashbuckling 6-1 away win at Toulouse on Friday put them firmly back in the Ligue 1 title race after coach Marcelo Bielsa rang the changes.
Lyon top the French league on 54 points but Marseille moved into second, ahead of Paris Saint Germain on goal difference on 53 points.
Bielsa noted: “This isn’t a direct message to Lyon or Paris, above all it’s important for us. Scoring so many goals gives us confidence.”
Paris host lowly Lens on Saturday ahead of theirChampions League showdown with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge next Wednesday, while leaders Lyon travel to in-form Montpellier on Sunday.
Bielsa had benched his brooding star striker Andre-Pierre Gignac and his young replacement the 21-year-old Belgian Michy Batshuayi scored twice, his second brace in three games.
He was the battering ram who led a breathtaking charge that saw OM lead 4-0 at half-time, his brace, a Baptiste Aloe poke and an own goal sank Toulouse before the break.
Toulouse’s star man Wissam Ben Yedder grabbed a goal with the score at 4-0, while Marseille’s relentless Andre Ayew (78) and Gignac (89), on as a substitute, scored fine goals in the second-half.
It was a real night to remember for Marseille, who hadn’t won away in Ligue 1 since early October.
Batshuayi’s sumptuous opener came in only the second minute, as he twisted on the edge of the box to beat three defenders and finish with a stunning low drive into the bottom corner.
Defender Aloe’s poke from around the penalty spot could easily have been ruled off-side due to Andre Ayew.
Ghana’s Ayew then sent in a cross that Lucas Ocampos claimed as he turned away, but he’d actually pressured defender Francois Moubandje into turning the ball into his own goal to make it 3-0 after only twenty minutes.
Batshuayi then tapped home late in the first-half after Dimitri Payet stormed a full fifty yards before a deft pass to Ocampos, who provided the assist, ripped Toulouse’s defence wide open.
Ocampos was another of Bielsa’s changes as the off-form young French hope Florian Thauvin also had started on the bench before coming on for Ayew late on.
The defeat left struggling Toulouse third from bottom. – Agence France-Presse