OM - Atletico (0-3) | One challenge too far

16 may 2018
Photos ©
The gulf in experience between the two sides showed in Lyon as Diego Simeone's men pipped OM to final glory

In the end, it wasn't to be for Olympique de Marseille. Despite a strong start to the UEFA Europa League final, it was Atletico Madrid who lifted the famous trophy after a 3-0 defeat in the showpiece of the 2017-18 tournament.

There was more hope than expectation for OM in all seriousness coming into the game against Diego Simeone's men who have played 2 Champions League finals in the last 4 years, while OM were encountering their first continental final in 14 years.

But those hopes were heightened after a frenetic start in Lyon, when Marseille perhaps should've taken the lead through Valère Germain after just five minutes. The forward was played in sumptuously by Dimitri Payet, but skied his effort over.

OM were all over Atletico which had surprised many observers inside 20 minutes. Lucas Ocampos and Bouna Sarr started the game with high energy on the wings to pressure Atletico into a mistake. 

But it was an error of our own doing that gifted the Spaniards the advantage, and one which they did not concede for the rest of the game. Steve Mandanda's pass towards Frank Zambo Anguissa caught the midfielder sprawling, and it was Antoine Griezmann who fired in the opener after 21 minutes.

OM then lost Payet to injury, the captain going off in tears and putting his World Cup place in doubt. OM never really recovered from that quick double-whammy, and Atletico quickly gained the upper hand as Griezmann lifted the ball over Mandanda early into the second half to double their lead.

By then, the final was a foregone conclusion with Atletico renowned for choking their opponents defensively when in winning positions. Substitute Kostas Mitroglou had a great chance to reduce the arrears, but saw his effort rebounded off the crossbar.

And the game was sealed just before stoppage time as Gabi took advantage of gaps in the OM defensive half to seal the win and the trophy for Atletico Madrid. 

On a night of pure disappointment but pride for OM, we still have one more final to play for a place in the Champions League against Amiens on Saturday at Stade Vélodrome.