Marseille produce comeback to win on penalties and knock Benfica out of Europa League


Marseille produce comeback to win on penalties and knock Benfica out of Europa League

Marseille's goalkeeper celebrates saving a penalty against Benfica
Marseille's goalkeeper celebrates saving a penalty against BenficaAFP
Olympique de Marseille will entertain Serie A side Atalanta in the semi-finals of the UEFA Europa League following a 4-2 penalty shootout victory over SL Benfica. The result means Les Phocéens remain unbeaten at the Orange Vélodrome in the competition for over five years.

With work to do after ending up on the losing side in Portugal, Marseille began on the front foot back on the familiarity of French soil, as Iliman Ndiaye’s curler from inside of the area was well-saved by visiting goalkeeper Anatoliy Trubin before Chancel Mbemba headed wide of the mark.

Leading goalscorer in this season’s competition Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang continued the hosts’ attacking onslaught as the first half progressed, with the former Arsenal striker firing inches over the crossbar. However, despite amassing six shots - compared to Benfica’s two - Jean-Louis Gasset’s side were forced to settle for a goalless first half.

Seeking a first head-to-head victory in close to a decade, it appeared Marseille were denied the award of a clear penalty at the start of the second half after the ball looked to have a Benfica arm. Trubin was called into action again shortly before the hour mark as the Ukrainian keeper got down well to keep out Amine Harit’s effort.

With time running out for the hosts, Geoffrey Kondogbia thought he had levelled the aggregate scoreline, however, the midfielder’s jubilation quickly turned to dismay as Trubin pulled off a magnificent one-handed save.

Marseille vs Benfica match stats
Marseille vs Benfica match statsFlashscore

It was then the turn of Pau Lopez to come to his side’s rescue, as he pushed Rafa Silva’s initial effort to safety before getting to his feet to block the rebound from Angel Di Maria.

The save from Les Phoceens’ number one soon turned out to be pivotal, as four minutes later, Aubameyang produced a delicious delivery into the danger zone that allowed second-half substitute Faris Moumbagna to head home past Trubin.

Ultimately, Moumbagna’s 79th-minute goal was good enough for Marseille to force an extra 30 minutes at the Orange Vélodrome.

Having already come close to getting his name on the scoresheet in regulation time, Di María saw another effort expertly stopped by Lopez in the only goalscoring opportunity in the first half of extra time. Arthur Cabral brought another save out of the hosts’ keeper, but after 120 minutes, it was penalties that decided the tie’s winner.

In the end, Di Maria and Antonio Silva missed to send Marseille through to the semi-finals, as Gasset's side took another step towards winning their first European trophy since the UEFA Champions League in 1992/93. Meanwhile, defeat sees Benfica end the game on the losing side for only a second time across 10 matches.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Pau Lopez (Marseille)

See all the match stats here.


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