OM - FC Salzburg (2-0) | Halfway to Lyonthu 26 apr at 23:30
Olympique de Marseille have one foot in the UEFA Europa League final after a comfortable 2-0 win over Red Bull Salzburg at the Orange Vélodrome on Thursday evening.
Among a club record crowd in a European fixture for OM, the hosts produced a professional performance to keep the Austrian side at bay in a keenly fought first leg.
Having opened the score inside 15 minutes at home in each of the last three knockout games against Braga, Athletic Bilbao and Leipzig, OM were keen to replicate that same form here against a side which stubbornly gained a point and a clean sheet in the group game between the two sides in December.
And it was left to Florian Thauvin to turn in the opener after a quarter of an hour. Dimitri Payet’s exquisite pin-point free-kick found the no.26, who headed in unmarked to send the Vélodrome into raptures.
Salzburg were not to be taken lightly though, after their own remarkable comebacks in the competition recently. Stefan Lainer tested Yohan Pelé with a long range effort, whilst Munas Dabbur failed with several shots.
In the second half, OM raised the temp and were rewarded just after the hour. 2 minutes and 42 seconds after coming on, Clinton Njie latched onto a sweet pass from Payet to produce a composed finish past Alex Walke in the Salzburg goal.
Two goals and a clean sheet put OM in the driving seat. But there is still 90 minutes to play for in what will be a difficult game in Austria next Thursday.
But for now, OM are favourites to play a European final once again.