OM 3-0 Domzale: first mission accomplished!thu 24 Aug at 22:36
Having already done enough to qualify thanks to Morgan Sanson's equaliser to make it 1-1 during the away leg in Slovenia, OM would, in reality, have made it through to the next round at any time throughout this return leg. OM will, therefore, take part in Friday's draw for the knockout phase of the Europa League. However, they didn't have things all their own way. Despite pressing hard to keep Domzale's players in their place, Marseilles suffered in the counter-attack and against set-pieces. A Slovenian free kick even landed the ball in the back of the net, but the goal was disallowed (and rightly so) due to an offside player. With multiple formations from the corners that were as original as they were ineffective, Simon Rozman's team hit the post of Mandanda's net following a free kick in the 26th minute. The crowd at the Orange Velodrome was still recovering when, in the following minute, despite the fact that Rudi Garcia's men had only had one shot on goal thanks to Lucas Ocampos following a Luiz Gustavo cross following a run down the right flank, Olympique opened the scoring following a header by Valère Germain, deflecting a cross from Maxime Lopez to give OM a 1-0 lead.
The Slovenian side's strongest play, after Marseilles had opened the scoring, was well managed by Olympique, who managed to deflect crosses and other high-risk balls off the pitch. Steve Mandanda only had a single shot on target to stop throughout the remainder of the first half. OM could have doubled their lead just before the break, but Dejan Milic made a superb double save against Valère Germain to keep his side's hopes alive.
With a 1-0 lead going into the second half, OM still weren't safe and could not afford to ease off in case the Slovenians managed to get on the scoreboard. After just ten minutes of play in the second half, Marseilles extended their lead. Valère Germain made it a double, following his hat-trick against Ostend at home. The Olympique striker, receiving a cross from Florian Thauvin, had enough time to control the ball with a well-timed strike that increased the gap (OM 2-0 Domzale).
The Marseille crowd rose to their feet following a penalty that was not awarded in favour of Florian Thauvin in the middle of the penalty box (where the Olympique player was eventually awarded a yellow card for faking) or for a masterful display by Steve Mandanda against Matija Sirok.
Gregory Sertic, who came onto the field in the first half after Adil Rami was injured, was joined on the pitch by André-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Matheus Doria for the end of the match. With a game against the French champions coming up at 9 p.m. on Sunday against Monaco, Rudi Garcia was resting his squad.
Having already scored a double, Valère Germain added a decisive assist to his personal score sheet for the third goal. His cross was converted in an acrobatic manoeuvre by Florian Thauvin to make it (OM 3-0 Domzale). The crowd could sing even more loudly: they can look forward to some amazing nights of European football this season.
The comfortable victory on paper didn't reflect the flow of play in the match, during which OM found themselves under pressure, though never really in danger, except in the first half with the disallowed goal and the shot that hit the crossbar. While Marseilles' players still have issues with the quality of their game, Rudi Garcia and his men achieved what they needed to this evening. Olympique Marseille have decisively made it through to the group stages of the Europa League and will have to wait until 1 p.m. on Friday to find out who their European opponents will be.