Athletic - OM (1-2, 2-5 Agg.) | OM qualify in style15 mar 2018
Marseille secured a place in the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals with an impressive 2-1 win away to Athletic Club, sealing a 5-2 aggregate victory.
Already two goals clear from the first leg last Thursday, all OM had to do was carefully manage the game - to ensure that it was not put in an uncomfortable position.
And it looked that way at the beginning as Athletic raced out of the blocks in searching of a quick fire start. Inaki Williams and Aritz Aduriz kept the OM defence busy, but were unable to make a breakthrough.
At the other end, Florian Thauvin - just back from injury - and Lucas Ocampos provided the attacking threat on the wing, but OM found success through the middle thanks to captain Dimitri Payet.
Payet skipped through a couple of challenges to receive a 1-2 before being tripped by Lekue. Referee Antony Taylor pointed to the spot, and the skipper promptly beat Iago Herrerin to put OM 1-0 ahead on the night, 4-1 on aggregate.
It got better in the second half as OM silenced a partisan San Mames crowd. Lucas Ocampos - on a hot streak in the past week - showed his confidence by turning on to his weaker foot to fire a low effort past Herrerin to all but seal the tie.
The hosts continued to accelerate forward, and were eventually rewarded with a goal for Inaki Williams 15 minutes from time. What little chance for a comeback however was extinguished when Aritz Aduriz was sent off a minute later.
Marseille qualify for the last eight of a European competition for the first time since 2012. The draw for the quarter-finals takes place at UEFA HQ in Nyon tomorrow (Friday 13:00 CET).
Attention turns now to the crunch Ligue 1 Conforama clash against Lyon at Orange Vélodrome on Sunday.