Football: against Benfica and Aston Villa, Marseille and Lille want to continue their European spring


Cyrille de la Morinerie / Photo credit: MANJIT NAROTRA / PROSPORTSIMAGES / DPPI VIA AFP

Despite their 2-1 defeat against Benfica and Aston Villa, OM and Lille can still believe in qualifying for the last four of the Europa League for one, and the Europa Conference League for the other. For the Northerners, it would even be a first European semi-final in their history.

French football in search of new exploits. OM and Lille will try to qualify this Thursday evening in the semi-final of the Europa League for one and the Europa Conference League for the other. The Olympians host Benfica Lisbon while the Mastiffs will host Aston Villa. Both teams lost 2-1 to their respective opponents in the first leg.

But the two representatives of French football have reason to believe it. OM will be able to count on their star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, scorer of the goal of hope in the first leg. The Stade Vélodrome will be packed with more than 65,000 spectators expected and the supporters are expecting a magical evening, like against Leipzig six years ago. At this same stage of the competition, the Marseillais won 5-2 against the Germans after a 1-0 defeat in the first leg.

“It’s up to us to make this evening extraordinary”

“We are aware that we are a goal behind and that we are playing against the quarter-finalist of the Champions League last year. Benfica is a big club. It is up to us to make sure that this evening is standard”, declared Marseille coach Jean-Louis Gasset at a press conference.

For Lille, the task also promises to be tough against Aston Villa, 4th in the Premier League, and recent winner of Arsenal, quarter-finalist of the Champions League. Without their playing master, Edon Zhegrova, the Northerners will still try to validate their ticket for the first European semi-final in their history.



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