OM – Benfica: a very specific detail was worked on before the quarter-final return

Beaten in the first leg in Lisbon, Olympique de Marseille intends to rely on the fervor of the Vélodrome and its momentum to bring down Benfica and qualify for the Europa League semi-finals.

OM – Benfica: a very specific detail was worked on before the quarter-final return

Beaten in the first leg in Lisbon, Olympique de Marseille intends to rely on the fervor of the Vélodrome and its momentum to bring down Benfica and qualify for the Europa League semi-finals.

It floats in the waters of the Old Port of Marseille like sulfur air. In the heart of the city, the Vélodrome is still calm but already buzzing with the tumult of an evening like any club in a dream. An evening of everything possible to continue to maintain the European dream.

A week after falling in Lisbon, Olympique de Marseille moves forward with confidence towards this decisive meeting. Confident because the challenge appears to be equal to his level. "I feel they are aware. Aware of the importance of the upcoming match. Aware that we have already done it in the past. But also aware that we have a slight delay to make up for", mentioned Jean-Louis Gasset about the state of mind of its players.

One goal is all the Marseillais need to catch up with Benfica Lisbon. A minimal deficit, especially if we think of the impression made by Aubameyang and others in a one-sided end to the match where they took the upper hand physically. "We want to maintain this momentum from the last 30 minutes for tomorrow's match. We will try everything," confirmed Leonardo Balerdi. Try everything yes but not just any way.

The Marseille defender and his coach have thus identified a particular sector in which the Olympians will have to be particularly vigilant: transitions. “What we didn't do well in the first leg was in transitions. They have strong players on the counter-attack, so we'll have to be present as soon as we lose the ball,” said Gasset, who hopes that his players prevent Di Maria from gaining momentum or Rafa Silva and Joao Neves from being too influential as during an hour in Lisbon.

To develop his plan, the former assistant to Laurent Blanc was able to benefit from a full week without a match, OM having been exempt from playing in Ligue 1 last weekend, like PSG and Lille. A time taken to regenerate bodies tested by a busy and relentless season, and to take stock of the injured. Hit in the ankle, Merlin will not be able to hold his place this Thursday evening, just like Clauss and Sarr normally. If both have returned to training, Gasset will not take the risk of a relapse affecting them.

This respite also allowed the Marseillais to prepare for all scenarios. “We have 90 minutes to score a goal and maybe overtime in front of our home crowd to score the second,” Gasset said. The latter even concocted a penalty shootout at the end of Wednesday's training. A far from trivial exercise.

Before getting there, the Marseillais will have to come back from this deficit and succeed in winning this quarter-final return to hope to reach the semi-finals of the Europa League. “It’s up to us to make this meeting exceptional,” invited Gasset. A message to his players and to the supporters whose role will also be important in this evening which they all hope to be memorable.

NEXT NEWS