Marseille players collapsed after the defeat following the penalty shootout. August 15, 2023. CHRISTOPHE SIMON / AFP
Better than in the first leg and probably also better than their opponent, OM nevertheless fell from a very high position on Tuesday August 15, falling on penalties against Panathinaikos (1-0; 2-1; 5 pens to 3) , from the 3rd preliminary round of the Champions League.
Each of the shots on goal was struck at 150 decibels, and probably even a little more for the last, transformed by Filip Mladenovic. But that was not enough to disturb the Greek strikers, all of whom were impeccable, unlike Mattéo Guendouzi, whose mid-height shot was repelled by Alberto Brignoli.
Unfortunately, the international midfielder was the negative hero of the evening, since it was also he who, after additional time in regulation time (90+9) and after an interminable intervention by the VAR, had been sanctioned with a penalty that allowed Panathinaikos to grab an unexpected extension.
Just before the penalty shootout, Marcelino then tried to bring in his substitute goalkeeper Ruben Blanco, but it didn’t work and OM and their new Spanish coach experienced a very painful first failure.
Because this elimination is very expensive, literally and figuratively, with a significant shortfall in economic terms and a sports season which takes on a very dark hue from August 15.
60 minutes of high quality
This failure is also a stone in the garden of president Pablo Longoria and his right-hand man Javier Ribalta who, after the departure of Igor Tudor in June, have decided to change everything again this summer.
Read also: Article reserved for our Ligue 1 subscribers: should we worry about French coaches, sidelined by foreign technicians?
New players, new coach, new style of play radically opposed to that of last season, OM could not be ready for this deadline and they were not, at least in the first leg. Because it was undoubtedly in Athens, when OM appeared very far from the level expected in European competition, that the outcome of this double confrontation was decided.
Returning to Marseille on Tuesday, in a stormy Velodrome, Marseille on the contrary did very well for a long time and seemed stronger than the ” Until “. But his evening turned on two goals disallowed, including one in extra time for a very small offside, an avalanche of goal opportunities and a wagon of ineffective corners.
Mattéo Guendouzi unhappy on his hand in the box and on his missed shot on goal. August 15, 2023. CHRISTOPHE SIMON / AFP
Opposite, there was nothing or almost nothing, just a penalty fell from the sky. And for OM, a ton of regrets. Because the first Marseille period was almost perfect, with infinitely more rhythm and speed than a week ago. The first goal scored by Pierre-Eymerick Aubameyang in the second minute, then the double of the star rookie of the summer just before the break (2-0, 45 + 1), should have been enough.
In Search of Lost Time
But more than Panathinaikos, with its relative value, Marseille’s real adversary was time. Because this famous lack of time and preparation was felt gradually in the second period.
« Paris 2024 »
“Le Monde” deciphers the news and the challenges of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
At first harmless, the Greeks finally came a little closer to Pau Lopez’s goal, while Marcelino asked his players, gestures in support, to remain compact, an instruction that a few tired legs found it difficult to respect.
The blow of bamboo therefore came on a stroke of luck, a hand too high from Guendouzi on the second time from a corner, and a penalty converted by Ioannidis (2-1, 90 + 9).
OM coach Marcelino was dejected in the post-match press conference: ” I wanted to say sorry to the supporters. We are all very disappointed with the result. We were very confident to qualify for C1 but, given their performance tonight, we can’t blame the players who gave their all. The result is very cruel with a questionable penalty. We can say that fate played us a bad trick. Bravo to the players for their work and their efforts for 120 minutes. For me, it’s quite easy to analyze the match, but it’s difficult to justify the result. This elimination is obviously a disappointment. »
Read also: Champions League: Olympique de Marseille worried after their loss against Panathinaikos (1-0)
For OM and their finances, which the group stage of the Europa League will hardly embellish, the blow is terrible. Third place in Ligue 1 is definitely a famous trap and the preliminary rounds of the Champions League a level too often impossible to cross for French football.
Marcelino and Marseille, they still do not have time. Friday they go to Metz and they already have a lot to be forgiven.