OM in the semi-finals of the Europa League Conference after their win in Greece

They were promised hell in a boiling stadium. As in Basel, the Marseillais got away on enemy territory in Thessaloniki. A 1-0 win on Thursday 14 April thanks to a goal by Dimitri Payet (35′), perfectly served by Matteo Guendouzi. A success combined with that of the first leg (2-1) that allows the Olympians to join the last four of the Europa League conference. A victory thanks to the great performances of Steve Mandanda and Dimitri Payet, the two Marseille captains this season.

Il Fenomeno announced the color at the pre-match press conference. “We’ll play to the end”, announced OM’s historic bouncer. And rumor has it that Steve Mandanda walked the talk. With five saves, the keeper kept a clean sheet in front of a melting Stade de la Toumba just waiting to celebrate.

But by frustrating the Greek attackers, Mandanda didn’t give the fans the joy of celebrating a goal and believing in qualification. On the contrary, it disgusted her. From the start of the game, still dominated by the smoke from the pyrotechnic show at the players’ entrance, the whites and the blacks did everything they could to open the gate and return to equality in the double confrontation. But Chuba Akpom then José Crespo fell on a wall (10th).

Stops that allowed the Marseillais to pass the storm without incident. Perfect in the role of lightning rod, Steve Mandanda, making his third consecutive keeper’s debut since late August, offered a new salvation before half-time. Still crucial at the end of the game, the most capped player in European Cup history scored another perfect match with a French club (99 games), enough to reignite the debate over his starting position. And back to the World Cup?

It was another old veteran who put the Olympians in orbit to seek that qualification. For his 293rd game with OM, Dimitri Payet ended a strong time for Marseille after the attacks of the first quarter of an hour, saved by his captain. A real team effort.

His fourteenth goal in all competitions in the most successful season of his career at 35. Already a goalscorer in the first leg, with a guided missile in the skylight by Alexandros Paschalakis, the Reunionese made it again, well served by Matteo Guendouzi. As his club’s second-best goalscorer this season and top passer, Payet finds himself fully in Jorge Sampaoli’s system in the stands for this quarter-final second leg.

Steve Mandanda, who will be playing his 100th European Cup game in an Olympic shirt, and Dimitri Payet will see a return to the Vélodrome in the final against Dutch side Feyenoord. For a new European semi-final in the history of the Olympic club.

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