Europa League Conference – After PAOK – Marseille – Mandanda, back in favor: “When he’s like that he’s fantastic

The scene was captured by the cameras of channel+, while Samir Nasri joined Jorge Sampaoli during training in Marseille. Greeting his former teammate, Steve Mandanda summed up his situation with a smile: “He doesn’t want me to play“, he confided, pointing to his coach. The Argentine’s response: “It’s me who teaches him how to play football“.

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At that time, Steve Mandanda was still a certain number two, “El Pelado” had installed Pau Lopez in Ligue 1. What now? The legendary Marseille goalkeeper put on a memorable performance this Thursday night as OM PAOK defeated Saloniki (1-0) in the Europa League Conference. Three days before the match against Paris Saint-Germain…

Mandanda let the storm pass

Set up for a third straight season – first this season – after Sampaoli looked to maintain the 37-year-old goalkeeper’s momentum for this quarter-final return, Mandanda became himself again. When the Greeks met the impulse of a stadium in fusion, they did “Il Fenomeno”, which he knew well before Sampaoli arrived at OM. Fast on the ground to parry an attempt from Akpom (10′), eager to catch up his defense’s big blunder with a header in the next turn, the captain stopped the Marseille boat from pitching and let the storm pass.

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What followed was no less impressive as the Olympic goalkeeper made five saves in total, a total he had not equaled in three and a half years without conceding. “Steve is used to this type of match‘ Mattéo Guendouzi continued to observe W9. The goalkeeper played his 99th game in European competition. “We stayed very calm with him, the midfielder added. When I saw his first few saves, I knew none of their attempts would score. When he’s like that, he’s fantastic. He’s the man of the match.”

owners in the park?

Brilliant in his field, Steve Mandanda also and especially achieved his best performance in kicking. He was very precise in his decisions at short range and also knew how to find his attacking partners when he lacked solutions in front of him. Except for a possibly dangerous middle-distance suspension (30th), the three-colored national player has shown that he can bring just as much as his direct competitor. And maybe he planted doubts in Sampaoli’s mind.

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Because from now on it would be a big risk to re-establish Pau Lopez in a game as important as the one that awaits the Marseillais at the Parc on Sunday. Especially since the Spaniard’s recent performances have been less than convincing. At 37, Mandanda is proving it’s never too late to advance. And learn football (again).

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