Marseille, the only French club qualified for the round of 16, after the elimination of Lens, Rennes and Toulouse

Olympique de Marseille saved the evening for French clubs in C3 on Thursday by eliminating Shakhtar Donetsk (3-1) at the Stade Vélodrome for the first of Jean-Louis Gasset.

France Télévisions – Sports Editorial



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Olympique de Marseille saves the honor. The Marseille club is the only French club qualified for the round of 16 of the Europa League after its victory, Thursday February 22 at the Stade Vélodrome, against Shakhtar Donetsk (3-1). Stade Rennes, RC Lens and Toulouse were in fact eliminated after having come close to the hope of qualification. The Bretons won without qualifying against AC Milan (3-2), the Sang et Or wasted a two-goal advantage in Friborg (3-2 ap), while the Violets dominated without managing to beat Benfica ( 0-0).

Gasset succeeds in his first

Arriving at the start of the week on the OM bench, Jean-Louis Gasset has already achieved part of his bet. The coach wanted to restore confidence in his players and they apparently understood the message, as they won at the Stade Vélodrome against a Shakhtar Donetsk team who had held them to a draw in the first leg (2 -2). This return match started badly for OM, however, led after the penalty scored by Georgiy Sudakov (12th).

The Marseille reaction was rapid and it came from the man in form of the moment, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (23rd), now the only top scorer in the history of the Europa League (31 goals). Without being threatened defensively by their Ukrainian opponent, OM had to wait before taking the advantage through Ismaïla Sarr (74th), then going wide through Geoffrey Kondogbia (81st). For the start of his mandate, Gasset will be able to boast of having been able to put Marseille back on the path to victory, while the club had not won since January 7 and a Coupe de France match against the amateurs of Thionville.

Lens, from dream to nightmare

Franck Haise and his players will certainly brood over this elimination in Friborg (3-2 ap) for a long time. After the draw in the first leg at the Bollaert-Delelis stadium (0-0), the Sang et Or had to win on the German club’s pitch to reach the round of 16. They did what they needed in the first period to achieve this, with goals from David Pereira Da Costa (28th) and Elye Wahi (45th + 2). However, Lens’ serenity gradually crumbled in the second half.

The image of the evening will remain the incomprehension on the field of goalkeeper Brice Samba, at the height of the disappointment: Roland Sallai reduced the score (68th) before equalizing in added time (90th + 3), well helped by the counter of Lenois Massadio Haïdara on his shot. The Artesian defender, decidedly unhappy after coming into play, lost his duel on the goal which took Friborg, into overtime, from Michael Gregoritsch (99th). Qualified for the European Cup for the first time since 2007, Lens now only has Ligue 1 to play, to try to secure a new European place next season.

Bourigeaud, a hat-trick for nothing

Score the first hat-trick of his career and end the match frustrated. The evening was paradoxical for Benjamin Bourigeaud. The Rennes midfielder allowed his team to win against AC Milan in a burning Roazhon Park on Thursday (3-2), but this victory was not enough to qualify the Bretons, who had been swept away in the match go (0-3). Rennes coach Julien Stéphan made a gamble by fielding a very offensive team to try to overthrow the Rossoneri.

It paid off at the start of the match, with an intensity rewarded by Bourigeaud’s first goal (11th). The Rennes midfielder then scored his two other goals from the penalty spot (54th, 68th), but the Bretons inevitably left spaces in their defense. Luka Jovic (22nd) and Rafael Leao (58th) took advantage of two errors from Warmed Omari. Certainly frustrated at having missed out on the first leg, the Bretons and Bourigeaud are leaving this Europa League with “surely the most beautiful victory in the European history of Stade Rennes“, according to his trainer, Julien Stéphan.

Toulouse did not know how to adjust the sights

We were much better than them, but we weren’t good in the last move.“Still out of breath from the efforts made against Benfica at the Stadium (0-0), Vincent Sierro perfectly summed up the Toulouse match. The captain and his teammates, beaten in the first leg in Lisbon (1-2), largely dominated Benfica and will wonder for a long time how they failed to impose themselves.

The opportunities multiplied for the Violets, but when their strikes were not harmless (27th, 47th, 60th), they came up against a very good Anatoliï Troubine (66th, 90th + 2). The only time Benfica’s Ukrainian goalkeeper was out of the shot, Stijn Spierings missed the target with his header (55th). The European adventure of the winner of the last Coupe de France will not go any further.

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