RB Leipzig - OM (1-0) | Narrow defeat, but plenty of hope05 apr 2018
OM suffered a narrow 1-0 reverse to RB Leipzig in the first leg of the UEFA Europa League quarter-final, but can take solace in the knowledge that there remains all to play for in the return.
Decimated at the back with injuries to Steve Mandanda, Adil Rami and Rolando - Rudi Garcia chose to align 18-year-old Boubacar Kamara and Luiz Gustavo at the back, the former becoming the second youngest player to ever start a UEFA Europa League quarter-final.
At the hands of last years’ Bundesliga runners-up, there were fears that the powerful duo of Timo Werner and Emil Forsberg would assert themselves on a makeshift OM defence, but these were quickly allayed in a high intensity first-half.
Kostas Mitroglou and Lucas Ocampos saw chances thwarted by Peter Gulacsi, while the defence had a tough job keeping Naby Keita at bay.
Just before the half, both teams saw gilt-edged chances - with Bouna Sarr hitting the crossbar with a powerful effort. Gulacsi denied Dimitri Payet with a double save, as Leipzig countered the OM pressure.
At the other end, the ball was quickly delivered to Werner, who took advantage of a position by Yohann Pele to give the hosts the lead with the last kick of the half.
OM rallied in the 2nd half, with Ocampos primarily driving the attack. Gulacsi, who was kept busy throughout the night.
Ultimately, OM finished the night trailing 1-0 from a keenly fought first leg. But there remains 90 minutes more to play, and with a ferventt Orange Velodrome crowd to come next Thursday - there remains plenty of scope to overturn the deficit and secure a place in a European semi-final for the first time in 14 years.
But first, OM take on Montpellier in domestic action on Sunday.