Marseille 3 PSV Eindhoven 0
Mamadou Niang grabbed a second-half brace as Marseille got their Champions League Group D campaign up and running with a comprehensive win over PSV Eindhoven in dreadful conditions at the Stade Velodrome.
OM needed to win to keep alive their hopes of a top-two finish and they did so in fine style, Baky Kone opening the scoring after 30 minutes.
Strike-partner Niang then marked a fine personal display by scoring twice in the space of eight minutes midway through the second half, as PSV fell apart at the back.
The result means OM go above PSV in the table, although the sides are now level on three points.
The pair could still qualify for the last 16 but they will have to win both their remaining games, and they are more likely to be fighting it out for third place and a spot in the UEFA Cup’s last 32.
There was a danger the match was going to have to be postponed because of torrential rain in the city over the past three days.
A pitch inspection was made a couple of hours before kick-off and the decision was taken to go ahead with the match.
The conditions meant the pitch was heavy and some sections of the turf were cut up, especially in and around the centre-circle.
However, Marseille still tried to play their football and the first real chance of the game fell in the 13th minute to Hatem Ben Arfa, who fired an effort straight at PSV goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson.
The visitors should have taken the lead a minute later when Danny Koevermans, who scored both goals in PSV’s 2-0 win over OM a fortnight ago, stretched to direct a shot wide from just six yards out.
They were made to pay for that miss when Kone opened the scoring on the half-hour mark.
Ben Arfa was the creator, the playmaker finding space centrally before sliding an inch-perfect ball through to the Ivory Coast whippet, who outpaced Eric Addo to the ball, rounded Isaksson and slotted home for his sixth goal of the season.
The urgency suddenly went out of OM’s play and PSV had more of the ball.
Their best chance before the break fell to Otman Bakkal, who met Edison Mendez’s cross unmarked but contrived to head the ball against the post from eight yards.
Steve Mandanda had to be alert and brave to fly at the feet of Koevermans early in the second half when the striker was all set to slot home following Ibrahim Afellay’s incisive left-wing cross.
At the other end, Benoit Cheyrou miskicked when teed up by the hard-working Kone and then Ben Arfa fired over from the edge of the area.
The goal that killed PSV off came in the 63rd minute, Kone the supplier from the right and Niang, who had peeled off Addo, planting a left-footed volley high into the net from eight yards.
OM were threatening to run riot and after Kone had a shot cleared off the line by Timmy Simons, Taye Taiwo had a close-range shot turned away by Isaksson.
Niang grabbed his second of the night eight minutes after his first. Ben Arfa slipped another slide-rule pass through and Niang fought off the attentions of Jan Kromkamp before angling a finish into the bottom corner from 15 yards.