Preview - Marseille vs Salzburg

Started by Harry85, Apr 25, 2018, 06:01 AM

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Europa League Semi Final First Leg
Marseille vs. Salzburg
Friday, April 27th, 2018
04:05 am (GMT+8 Timing)
Stadium: Stade Vélodrome

Last five matches form: L D W W W
EL Average goals per match: 1.42
EL Average goals against per match: 0.83
EL Top Scorer: Lucas Ocampos (4)

Last five matches form: L W W W W
EL Average goals per match: 1.58
EL Average goals against per match: 0.83
EL Top Scorer: Munas Dabbur and Valon Berisha (5)

We have a French-Austrian battle in the semi-finals of the Europa League this week as Marseille welcome Salzburg to the Stade Vélodrome.

Marseille continue to be without first choice keeper Steve Mandanda. Hiroki Sakai is also expected to miss out at right back.
Salzburg have no injury concerns at all and welcome key midfield cog Diadie Samassekou back from suspension.

These two sides have met twice already in this year's competition having been drawn together in the group stage. Salzburg had the better of those two encounters overall, picking up a goalless draw here at the Vélodrome and Beating Marseille 1-0 at home. A repeat of those results would do just fine in the knockout stages for the Austrian side.

The Marseille side which was held by Salzburg here back in December was something of a weakened line-up, with neither Dmitri Payet nor Florian Thauvin being involved. With those two key creative influences expected to return here, this will likely prove much tougher. That stalemate was the only game in which Marseille have failed to score at home in the Europa League this season, averaging 2.33 goals overall.

Salzburg are a dangerous side on the road though having already notched twice at Konyaspor, Real Sociedad and Lazio.
A tough one to call overall but we will take Marseille to just do enough to take a lead into the second leg.

Prediction: Marseille 2 - 1 Salzburg


Half time: 1 - 0
Full time: 2 - 0
Shots: 8 - 10
Shots on target: 4 - 5
Corner Kicks: 1 - 3
Possession: 45% - 55%

Referee William Callum booked Maxime Lopez and Konstantinos Mitroglou for the home side. Salzburg' s Hannes Wolf also had his name taken.

Ahead on total shots, shots on target, corners and possession, Salzburg could reasonably expect to get something from this game. In the end all they came away with was a two goal deficit to overcome in the second leg and perhaps crucially no away goals.

With Dmitri Payet and Florian Thauvin both in the starting line-up, Salzburg were always likely to find this tougher than their previous visit to the Vélodrome, when holding their hosts to a goalless draw in the group sages.

In the 15th minute Payet and Thauvin teamed up to give Marseille the lead. An excellent free kick from Payet on the right-hand side finding Thauvin unmarked at the far post. Marseille's top scorer faced with the simple task of heading home from about a yard via a slight deflection of his own knee.

Not much more to report from the opening period, with both sides largely being restricted to efforts from range.

Salzburg flew out of the traps in the second half. First having what looked a legitimate penalty appeal fall on deaf ears, before Hannes Wolf was denied by an excellent one-handed stop by Pele.

Then in the 63rd minute the home side doubled their advantage. Payet again the instigator. This time breaking down the left-hand side before pulling the ball back to Clinton Njie on the edge of the box. Njie driving into the area before supplying an excellent finish into the bottom right corner.

Salzburg to their credit stayed on the front and came within inches of pulling one back in the 78th minute. A wonderful cross from deep on the left by Andreas Ulmer finding Fredrik Gulbrandsen running onto the ball in the area. Gulbrandsen couldn't have hit his first-time volley much better and was unlucky to see the ball rebound back off the post.

The visitors wouldn't come any closer.

Marseille look solid favourites to progress to the final now. As Lazio found to their cost in the quarters though, you underestimate Salzburg own their own patch at your peril.

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