OM loses again but keeps hope alive

The Marseillais lost again 2-1 on Thursday against Benfica, but can still hope to qualify next week for the semi-finals of the Europa League.

Published on: 04/11/2024 – 11:29 p.m.

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The defeats keep coming for OM, but this one has a slightly less bitter taste: despite a 2-1 setback on Thursday in Lisbon against Benfica, their fifth in a row, the Marseillais were able to preserve the dream of qualification for the semi-finals of the Europa League.

The evening ended under the loud whistles of the Portuguese supporters, disappointed and frustrated, and with a few moments of shy communion between the OM players and their supporters, whose presence at the Stade de la Luz remained very uncertain until ‘in the middle of the afternoon.

It must be said that there was no reason to triumph for the Marseillais either, because when Benfica led 2-0, a new shipwreck seemed in sight – and because there is no reason to celebrate a fifth consecutive defeat.

But OM were at least courageous when they could have foundered and there will be a real high-stakes, thrill-filled match next Thursday at the Vélodrome, who are just waiting for that and can still imagine being there for a new one. European semi-final.

Fragile DIY

However, the start of the match was difficult for OM and after 10 balanced minutes, the superiority of the Portuguese became a little more obvious with each minute. It materialized in the 16th minute via Rafa Silva after a collective action that was certainly nice, but on which OM could have defended harder (1-0).

Despite everything, OM already had a few opportunities in the first half. But it was then his lack of offensive confidence, or talent sometimes, that he was caught up with.

On a few corners and on a few not very well played shots, notably by Amine Harit, Marseille could have come back. Instead, it was with yet another very bad news that OM returned to the locker room, with the injury of their left side Quentin Merlin, obviously seriously injured in the left knee (45th).


While the return of Chancel Mbemba had pushed Jean-Louis Gasset to adopt a three-way defense, the exit of Merlin placed Luis Henrique on the left side and Mbemba on the right side, a baroque organization symbolic of OM’s workforce difficulties , burdened this season by injuries.

From the restart, Benfica easily took advantage of Marseille’s fragile DIY with a counter perfectly launched and perfectly concluded by Angel Di Maria (52nd, 2-0), still brilliant, but now only in sequences.

Aubameyang always

Without a solution, Gasset then threw Azzedine Ounahi in place of Faris Moumbagna, like throwing a coin in the air. At first, it didn’t particularly work and OM then went through a few terrible minutes, in great technical distress and light years away from the required level on a physical level.

But Marseille nevertheless found a little light in the 67th minute: a finally well-measured pass from Ounahi for the sharp call from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who did not tremble in front of Anatoli Troubine (2-1).

With now 10 goals in the Europa League and 25 in all competitions, the Gabonese striker is indeed the bearer of hope for OM this season, he who described the Europa League on Wednesday as a “ray of sunshine” in a very dark exercise.


Invigorated by this goal and by the prospect of a fiery return match in a week, OM then managed the end of the match better, showing in passing that Benfica, who had almost fallen against Toulouse in the play-offs, is not without doubt not so formidable.

Two minutes from the end, the more than 2,000 Marseille supporters present in Lisbon sang “Go OM!” very loudly. They still believe it after a day that was endless for them. For all of Marseille, this was the season. But it’s not quite finished yet after the Lisbon match and that’s good news.

With AFP


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