So far, and yet

13 mar 2016
Par 
Allan Chaussard
Photos © 
Yannick Parienti / OM.net 2016
After their 15th tie game of the Ligue 1 season, 1-1 in Lorient on the 30th day of 2015-16, OM is still in the race to gain a European ticket to the next season, particularly in the French Cup.

It's hard to carry a smile and to keep the morale up with less than 24 hours after the recent under-performance of OM in the championship. This 5th consecutive 1-1, 12th in the Ligue 1 season, doesn't really make the Olympiens move forward in their quest to Europe for the next season, the announced objective of the club at the start of the season, which is still reachable notwithstanding the circumstances.
Several ways can lead there, starting with the championship. Even if the podium, with 8 points away before the last matches of the 30th day, seems inaccessible, the fourth, fifth and sixth places are still reachable. However, they will possibly not be qualifiers for the Europa League. The fourth place ensures a European ticket, by contrast, the fifth and the sixth must wait to see the winners of the two national cups. In the case where PSG, already champion of France, would achieve the national triple, like in the past season, every reached place in the championship would worth its weight in gold.
OM is currently 6 points behind Lyon (4th), 5 points behind Rennes (5th) and 4 points behind Caen (6th). Nothing prohibitive with 8 game-days from the end of the championship, which means there are 24 points to glean.
All of this is very hypothetical and depends on the results of the teams ahead of OM and on the shown performance of Michel's men in the following weeks.
By contrast, the Olympiens have their destiny in their legs in the French Cup. They will play against Sochaux in Stade Bonal in the semi-final on April 20 to obtain a ticket to the final, scheduled for May 21. If OM arrives into Stade de France, everything will be possible against Lorient or Paris. Also, the victory in this competition, where OM remains the most successful so far (11 titles), would give the only direct qualifier ticket to the group phase of the Europa League, which is considerable.
Today Europe seems to be far, but it can't be forgotten yet. Steve Mandanda's crew have the cards still in the hands, but has to keep up the pace of their captain quickly not to lose everything. 

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