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Benfica Lisbon - OM: alone against everyone, the Marseillais aim for the feat

Private of his supporters but motivated like never before, Olympique de Marseille takes on Benfica Lisbon in the quarter-final first leg of the Europa League.

Don't spoil everything. Olympique de Marseille is tackling its last major challenge in a season which will definitely not have turned out well. very round with this Europa League quarter-final against Benfica Lisbon as a lifeline. However, the first leg, which will take place this Thursday, April 11 in the Portuguese capital, will take place in a particular context.

A slightly truncated party

While OM is delighted to return to this level of competition, a grain of sand in the form of a political exchange has come to block the game. #39;Marseille enthusiasm. Indeed, on Tuesday evening, the Portuguese authorities decided to take action. to cancel the tickets of Marseille supporters. A frontal response to the shutdown prefectural report of the Prefect of Bouches-du-Rhône published last Friday stipulating the ban on travel to Lisbon fans in Madrid. Marseille ahead of the Europa League quarter-final second leg (April 18).

"It would be annoying if the supporters weren't there. It's not football. We love the competition and the supporters are part of it", regrettedé Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at a press conference, echoed by Jean-Louis Gasset. "Football is a party. That the supporters are with us, it's logical. I hope people will find the solution to make the party successful."

No offense to them, Benfica coach Roger Schmidt deplored the loss. also the situation, the Marseillais will be alone to face à the Estadio da Luz, like a summer last during their trip to Athens, in the 3rd preliminary round of the Champions League (0-1)

"It's a privilege"

If the Marseille songs will be lacking and will create a vacuum, Jean-Louis Gasset's men should not, however, lack motivation. "They approach this European Cup in a different state of mind" , notes the coach.

This season, OM presents a double face. One is just starting out in Ligue 1 and the other is a conqueror in the Europa League. "The European Cup was able to give us the right breath, hoping that this will be the case once again and that it will be to the end (hellip;) It's a bit like the ray of sunshine of our season. This is why we have to hold on and give everything…, advances the Gabonese attacker. Having become the top scorer in the history of the competition in the round of 16, Aubameyang will once again have to set an example for his team against the opposition. an adversary in the past tense European supplied and which has no longer been lost. home in the Europa League since December 2018.

A piece of data that says a lot about the performance that will have to be achieved during this trip, & to which is added the recurring difficulties Marseille faces on the move. "The first leg will be super important. At home, we are capable of anything, we saw it against Villarreal",” evokes Aubameyang, who has not forgotten' After the festival at the Vélodrome & the first leg (4-0), OM were very scared on the return leg and were defeated. led&eac; 0-3 by the Spaniards (1-3 in the end).

Murillo and Mbemba available?

To perform well, OM will nevertheless have to tinker with a squad that is sticking its tongue out. "When I arrived, I had one side" right with Mbemba, Clauss and Sarr. I thought it was the right complement to Aubameyang, who likes to start more from the left. Our right has been injured, we have to get there. find solutions. But we miss Ismaila Sarr éenormously", explained´ Gasset, a bit fatalistic. Indeed, his right flank appears bare without the Senegalese and the French full-back, injured in the attack. in selection in March.

For his part, Mbemba is not yet completely out of the picture. for this quarter-final first leg. The Congolese is recovering from his bruised left knee and a decision is expected to be made on a possible tenure at the very last moment. Its solidity defensive, while Gigot and Balerdi limp, would be an undeniable plus against Di Maria et al. OM is also watching for the return of Murillo, another reinforcement at the back, with Gasset unable to count on Ulisses Garcia, Jean Onana and Pape Gueye not qualified for the competition.

"It's a privilege to play in a quarter-final of the European Cup. Players need to realize the event and the level they need to have. We need to raise the level to new levels. the height of the event", calls Gasset. If OM falters on its foundations, the magic of Europe can sweep everything away.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116