OM have put themselves in a good position, but they still have everything to do if they want to reach the last four of the Europa League Conference. With Dimitri Payet in great shape, author of a sumptuous goal, Jorge Sampaoli’s team won by a short header against PAOK Salonika (2-1). Despite a first act managed with a master hand, the Olympians scared each other when they returned from the locker room, and nothing is decided before the return match next Thursday.

In an electric atmosphere, launched by the supporters of the two clubs well before kick-off, Marseille managed their quarter-final first leg well, but they may still regret not having concretized their domination more often to make the break before the second run. Well launched, the teammates of Steve Mandanda, holder in goal for the Marseille club, lived the first 45 minutes like a dream.

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Obviously, it was still Payet, who loves nothing so much as these great European evenings, who carried his team, serious and well organized to leave nothing to the opposing attackers. First, the number 10 delivered a superb pass to a Gerson on the verge of offside, before seeing the Brazilian conclude with a beautiful half-volley with the left foot (1-0, 13th). After several scares in the Greek defense (28th, 30th, 36th), the former Stéphanois lit up the Marseille evening with an anthology goal.

On a corner taken by Cengiz Under on the right side, Payet, served outside the box, fired a marvelous recovery with his right foot to lodge the ball in the right corner of Alexandros Paschalakis (2-0, 45th). A blow before half-time on the head of the Greeks, even if the captain was involved in the action of the equalizer after returning from the locker room. Stripped of the ball in front of his surface after a hazardous pass from Pape Gueye, he saw Omar El Kaddouri, barely entering the game, catapult the ball under Mandanda’s bar (2-1, 48th).

Kamara and Gerson will miss the return

After a slight moment of hesitation, and a scare on a missed shot by Chuba Akpom (58th), the Marseillais still multiplied the scoring opportunities. But, clumsy (62nd, 68th), they also came up against a great Paschalakis. The PAOK goalkeeper thus made a magnificent double save in the 74th minute, before stopping a dangerous attempt from Under (78th).

The yellow card received by Boubacar Kamara (90th), and the exclusion of Gerson (90th + 4), who will miss the revenge, darkened the Marseille evening a little. But OM are in good shape before going to the boiling Toumba Stadium.

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Tense situation at the Velodrome

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