Konyaspor 1-1 OM: Taking their fate into their own hands

23 nov 2017
Frédéric Rostain
Photos © 
Roland Grunchec / Helios Image / OM
As in Bordeaux, OM equalised in the dying seconds of the match on Konyaspor's home turf. Marseille, still second in their group, must win against Salzburg to book their ticket to the next round.

For this penultimate tie in the Europa League group stage, Rudi Garcia made fewer changes to his side than usual. The return of Gustavo meant Sanson rather than Payet moved up a notch to the number 10 position and Germain replaced Mitroglou as the central striker. Despite the side being little changed since Marseille's last time on the field, they took a while to really get into the game. Amavi was trying hard to find Germain before the locals reacted with a break through from Fofana that narrowly missed the net. But fortunately the Olympians, particularly thanks to excellent work from the full backs, Sakai and Amavi, gained the upper hand against their opponents. In the last fifteen minutes of the first half, they created six interesting chances, while also rebuffing any Turkish advance.
Thauvin took control of a good ball but his cross was blocked. Sakai then pierced the left wing of Konyaspor's defence before being tackled in the penalty area, but the referee gave a corner. Then Zambo Anguissa fed Thauvin who attempted his 'signature' but Kirintili deflected the ball for a corner. At the far post, Ocampos caught a cross with the outside of his right foot but failed to find the net. Finally Gustavo tried from much further out, but again the goal proved elusive...

The second half saw more balanced play than the end of the first. The ball flew quickly from one end to the other. Fofana and Skubic created dangerous opportunities on the counter-attacks. Marseille passed well but kept failing at the last or second-to-last move needed to score. The crosses didn't always find their target, and their attempts on goal didn't find it at all. Thauvin hit the Turkish goalkeeper shortly after an hour of play had passed, in one of the Phocians' better chances.
Payet was then brought into the game to try to free things up by replacing Ocampos on the left. But it was Thauvin who hit the woodwork twice in quick succession, before being taken off for Njie to come on. Defeat was in the air at both ends of the stadium as the teams went all-out in the struggle to score. A free-kick from Payet came close to the bar as the crowd urged him on.
Konyaspor ended up being awarded a penalty after Amavi was sent off for a foul. Skubic converted the opportunity and gave his side the advantage as the stadium went wild. Sarr came on for the final minutes as Garcia's men looked for the equaliser. They succeeded, just as in Bordeaux, at the last second, thanks to Njie, who saw his shot deflected by Moke into his own goal.

As in Bordeaux, OM snatch a point from the draw, and hold onto their second place in the table, but will have to win at home against Salzburg in two weeks to guarantee their place in the next round of the competition.

Group I results

5th matchday: Thursday 23 November 2017
Konyaspor 1-1 OM
Salzburg 3-0 Vitoria Guimaraes

1/ Salzburg: 11 points
2/ OM: 7 points
3/ Konyaspor: 5 points
4/ Vitoria Guimaraes: 4 points

6th matchday: Thursday 7 December 2017
Vitoria Guimaraes-Konyaspor