MX23RW : Thursday, January 17 20:11:15
Apr 26, 2018 at 8.05pm UK at ​Stade Vélodrome (Marseille)
Attendance: 62,312
SalzburgRed Bull Salzburg
Thauvin (15'), N'Jie (63')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Live Commentary: Marseille 2-0 Red Bull Salzburg - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's live coverage of Marseille's 2-0 win over Red Bull Salzburg, as the French side took control of the Europa League semi-final tie.
Live Commentary: Marseille 2-0 Red Bull Salzburg - as it happened
© Offside

Goals from Florian Thauvin and substitute Clinton Njie gave Marseille a 2-0 win against Red Bull Salzburg in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final tie.

The hosts were ahead 15 minutes in when Thauvin got on the end of a teasing Dimitri Payet delivery, although the final touch appeared to come off his hand.

Njie doubled his side's tally in the second half following a strong spell of possession for Salzburg, who have 90 minutes to redeem themselves on home soil next week.

Relive how the 90 minutes of action unfolded with our extensive updates below.

7.05pmHello and welcome to Sports Mole's live text coverage of the Europa League semi-final first leg between Marseille and Red Bull Salzburg at the Stade Veledrome. This last-four tie may not have quite the same pedigree as the other one taking place tonight between Arsenal and Atletico Madrid, but fingers crossed it will be equally as entertaining!

7.07pmBoth teams produced stunning comebacks to make it past the quarter-finals stage, and they are now just two steps away from lifting the trophy for the first time. Marseille boast more European pedigree, having triumphed in the Champions League 25 years ago, while Salzburg are seeking their first UEFA silverware of any sort. Before looking at the two teams in a little more depth, let us first check out some confirmed team news...


STARTING XI: Pele; Amavi, Gustavo, Rami, Sarr; Sanson, Lopez; Ocampos, Payet, Thauvin; Mitroglou

SUBS: Bedimo, Escales, Germain, Njie, Rolando, Sertic, Anguissa

7.11pmStarting with a look at the home side, manager Rudi Garcia has been dealt a blow as Rolando misses out tonight with an Achilles problem. Luiz Gustavo will instead drop into the backline alongside Adil Rami, which was the case when Rolando hobbled off in the comprehensive win over Lille at the weekend. Jordan Amavi and Bouna Sarr will operate at full-back, the latter of whom has recently shaken off an injury problem of his own.

7.13pmSarr deputises for Japanese international Hiroki Sakai, who is out with a knee injury and is in a race against time to be fit again before the campaign comes to an end. With the experienced Gustavo having to drop a little deeper, Morgan Sanson and Maxime Lopez will operate in defensive midfield for Les Phoceens in what is a 4-2-3-1 formation spearheaded by Kostas Mitroglu.

7.15pmMitroglu boasts some impressive scoring stats this season - more on which a little later - and he has the equally talented Dimitri Payet providing support from a little deeper. Payet pulled the strings in the comeback win over RB Leipzig in the last round and is undoubtedly one of the key men to watch tonight, with Lucas Ocampos and Florian Thauvin operating from wider positions.


STARTING XI: Walke; Ulmer, Caleta-Car, Ramalho, Lainer; Berisha, Samassekou, Wolf, Haidara; Dabbur, Hwang

SUBS: Stankovic, Onguene, Pongracic, Yabo, Minamino, Schlager, Gulbrandsen

7.19pmOne slightly surprising piece of team news as far as the visitors are concerned, as Marco Rose has brought in 19-year-old Hannes Wolf for Xaver Schlager in central midfield, alongside Diadie Samassekou following the Malian's return from suspension. Out wide are Amadou Haidara and Valon Berisha, tasked with getting the ball into the box where Hee-Chan Hwang and Munas Dabbur will be waiting.

7.21pmSamassekou's return from suspension is a big boost for visiting boss Rose, whose big selection call is to go with Wolf alongside the Malian, albeit with a more attacking mindset. Dabbur has five goals and two assists in this run to the Europa League semi-finals, as well as netting 19 in 28 Austrian Bundesliga matches. Not too many households names in this Salzburg side, but plenty of talent throughout.

7.23pmAndre Ramalho and Duje Caleta-Car will start at centre-back, meanwhile, and Stefan Lainer and Andreas Ulmer are at full-back in what is effectively a 4-4-2 formation. The home side will also go with four at the back tonight, whereas they went with three centre-backs against Leipzig last time out as they needed to chase the game. The theme of this year's European competitions has been sides battling back, of course!

7.25pmMarseille are without Rolando, Boubacar Kamara and Hiroki Sakai this evening, as well as goalkeeper Steve Mandanda who is out for the campaign. That means Luiz Gustavo will slot into the centre of defence for the hosts, who have the likes of Dimitri Payet and Kostas Mitroglu to score the goals at the other end of the pitch.

Dimitri Payet playing for Marseille in the 2016-17 season© Offside

7.27pmLes Phoceens memorable won the Champions League in 1993, two years after finishing as runners up in UEFA's showpiece competition, but they have never been all the way in the UEFA Cup or Europa League. An incredible 5-3 aggregate win over RB Leipzig in the last round means that they can change that this rime around, having trailed by a couple of goals in that one before battling back.

7.29pmMarseille had previously knocked out Athletic Bilbao with a pretty straightforward 5-2 win and Braga also offered little resistance as they were swept aside 3-1 - the hard work being done with a 3-0 win here in the first leg. Prior to all that, though, the French side endured a mixed set of results in the group stage, winning two, drawing two and losing two of their six matches.

7.31pmAfter beating Oostende and Domzale to reach the group stage, like most clubs from the big leagues Marseille were simply hoping to make the knockout rounds with minimal disruption. Two points from the last nine on offer very nearly saw them drop out of the competition at the group stage, but in the end they had enough points on the board to edge out Konyaspor and into the last 32.

7.33pmThis is a European journey that started way back in July for Marseille, then, with that qualifier against Oostende, making this their 17th match in the competition. Europe has not always taken priority, as Les Phoceens have been battling away in Ligue 1 and are currently fourth in the standings, level on points with Lyon directly above them who have won six matches in a row.

7.35pmThe top-three race in France will go right down to the wire, with Monaco also involved in the battle as they are only a couple of points better off than Marseille and Lyon. Garcia's men have a second chance of reaching next season's Champions League, however, by beating Salzburg and then either Arsenal or Atletico Madrid in the final - simple enough! With less than a month of the season to go, the target is to win the Europa and finish second in Ligue 1.

7.37pmGames against Angers, Nice, Guingamp and Amiens are left to play domestically, so Garcia's charges have a pretty decent set of fixtures to go alongside this double-header with Salzburg. They have won each of their last three matches in all competitions and suffered just two defeats in the last 11 since the end of February, suggesting that momentum is being build at just the right time.

7.39pmMarseille have faced Austrian opposition just once before in a two-legged European tie, beating Austria Vienna 1-0 on aggregate in a third-round qualifier for the Champions League in 2003-04. Overall against sides from the Austrian Bundesliga, meanwhile, it is two wins, two draws and two defeats - both of those losses, as well as a draw, coming in away matches.

7.41pmLes Phoceens have won seven of their eight European home matches this season, the exception being a goalless draw with tonight's opponents in the group stage. They have scored 21 goals in that time, stretching back to a 1-0 loss against Athletic Bilbao in a round of 16 matches two seasons ago. This is the first time that Marseille have made it to the last four of the Europa League.

7.43pmPREVIOUS MEETINGS! As touched upon a few moments ago, these two sides have already faced off twice before in this competition already this season. Marseille collected just one point from a possible six in the group stage, with the match here finishing goalless - the only one of eight home European fixtures the French side have failed to win in two years.

7.45pmMarseille, who captured headlines in November when Patrice Evra kung-fu kicked a supporter in the group stage, are competing in the last four of the Europa League at the fourth attempt. The Ligue 1 outfit have previously been eliminated in the group stage, last 32 and last 16.

Patrice Evra kicks a Marseille fan in the face ahead of his side's Europa League clash on November 2, 2017© Offside

7.47pmDespite their run to the semis, and being 11-time champions of Austria, Salzburg still carry the tag of underdogs in the eyes of many. Their best European finish was runners-up in the 1993-94 UEFA Cup, which they will be looking to match or better this season. On the basis of their performance in the second leg against Lazio, when scoring four times in the second half, you would not bet against them doing so.

7.49pmDie Roten Bullen were 4-2 down from the first leg and conceded another early in the second leg, giving them an almighty mountain to climb. Their two away goals would prove vital, though - one of the themes throughout the knockout stages of both the Europa League and Champions League this term. Salzburg are the only reigning domestic champions still left in the competition.

7.51pmThe Austrians are also the only remaining side in the competition yet to have won a major UEFA trophy - Marseille won the Champions League in 1993 - so it is easy to see why they have been written off by many. This is their 19th match in European competition this term - more than any other team - and a special mention must go to Andreas Ulmer who has played every minute of those matches.

7.53pmSalzburg's Europa League adventure started in mid-August when overcoming Viitorul, having fallen short in qualifying for the Champions League - explaining why the have played more matches than their opponents. They then went unbeaten in the group stage to become the first club to top the standings four times - 11 others have done it on three occasions but none had ever managed four.

7.55pmThe Austrians are experienced when it comes to the early rounds of this competition, but they tend to falter before the going gets tough. Not this time, as they have also added the scalps of Real Sociedad and Borussia Dortmund to that of Lazio, stunning the Germans with a 2-1 win at the Westfalenstadion and then seeing things through on home soil. It is fair to say that they have earned the right to be at this advanced stage.

7.57pmSalzburg are 11 points clear of Sturm Graz in the Austrian Bundesliga with 15 points left to play for, so they could well be crowned domestic champions for a 12th time before the second leg of this European tie is played. If not, they face Graz in a little over a week's time and should get the job done then, before facing the same opponents in the cup final - win that and it will be five doubles on the bounce.

7.59pmThey truly are a dominant force in Austria, losing just two of their 31 league matches this term as they cruise to another couple of major honours. It is just the two defeats in 22 in all competitions, meanwhile, and as Lazio, Sociedad and Dortmund have come to find out, that momentum can come into good use on the continent. Salzburg have never previously faced off against French opposition in a Euro knockout tie.

8.01pmSalzburg had gone 19 European matches without defeat prior to going down 4-2 to Lazio, but they have still lost only two of their last 15 away matches on the continent, winning seven of those. Back in the group stage before Christmas, they conceded a joint-record one goal across the six matches, but netted just seven up the other end - the lowest tally of the 12 group winners.

8.03pmDID YOU KNOW? No player has been directly involved in more goals in the knockout stage of the Europa League than Marseille's Dimitri Payet - three goals and three assists. Florin Thauvin boasts 21 goals this term from an attacking midfield position, meanwhile, and Kostas Mitroglu has scored a goal every 27 minutes on average in Ligue 1 - a tally that cannot be matched across Europe's big five leagues.

Dimitri Payet of West Ham United during the Premier League match against Southampton on September 25,  2016© SilverHub

1 minKICKOFF! Austrian champions Red Bull Salzburg, with just the one away defeat in this season's competition, gets us up and running at the Stade Veledrome. Nearly 62,000 in the ground tonight - a European record for Marseille.

3 minMarseille attempting to build on this incredible atmosphere early on with their pressing high up the pitch. Andre Ramalho with a tackle on Lucas Ocampos, which he is a tad fortunate to have got away with without an early caution.

5 minA first attempt on target, via the boot of Mitroglu, which Walke managed to get behind. The offside flag had gone up, but the Salzburg goalkeeper was not to know that. No sign of the decibel levels dipping at the moment!

7 minMarseille looking the more confident on the ball early on here without being able to create much - other than that chance for an offside Mitroglu a little earlier. The Stade Veledrome living up to its reputation as one of France's loudest grounds.

9 minLes Phoceens' play is quite frantic early on, whereas Salzburg are looking a tad more composed when they do get on the ball. The visitors looking to get it into the forward zones as often as they possibly can in search of an away goal.

11 minStill awaiting the first shot of any note at the Stade Veledrome - legally, at least, as Mitroglu's earlier attempt was from an offside position. Sarr does very well down the right and picks out Payet, whose flick was neither a shot nor poss.

13 minA few scything challenges from the visitors in quick succession, the latest of which is no more than four yards outside the opposition box. The atmosphere and pressure is slowly building on the Austrian side - can they withhold it?


16 minMarseille make the latest set piece count, as Dimitri Payet swings the ball towards the back post where Florian Thauvin is waiting to head the ball over the line. Replays do suggest, however, that the final touch came off the midfielder's hand.

18 minThat is now seven goals Payet has directly contributed to in the knockout phase alone, taking the goalkeeper out of the game with the tasty delivery. Marseille well on top now and closing in on a quickfire second of the evening.

20 minSHOT! Morgan Sanson with a shot from range which he did not hit quite as he would have liked, sending it a few yards wide of the target. Salzburg having to hold on a little now; they need to see out this spell and hope it is still just 1-0.

22 minMarseille, and Payet in particular, playing some very nice football now. Rudi Garcia will be keen to see his side double their tally before the visitors can truly settle into the match, with a quarter of the first leg now played.

24 minYELLOW CARD! Been a fair few challenges already here, leading to bookings for Maxime Lopez and Hannes Wolf over the past few minutes. Salzburg with a shooting chance, but Hwang was too intricate with his intended pass and Pele collected.

26 minSalzburg are definitely there for the taking on the basis of the opening 26 minutes. Marseille have one and Garcia will be delighted with that, but his side may rue failing to making the most of their superiority as this tie progresses.

28 minThe visitors' best moment of the match so far as Dabbur gets in behind down the left and wins a corner for his side. Croatian centre-back Duje Caleta-Car got his head to the set piece, but he could not direct if goalwards from 10 yards.

30 minAll of a sudden this match has become far more evenly matched. Salzburg looked below-par for 25 minutes or so, but they are now starting to show how they managed to overcome Real Betis, Borussia Dortmund and Lazio en route to the semis.

32 minSAVE! Momentum is definitely starting to shift at the Stade Veledrome. Stefan Lainer gets a shot away for Yohann Pele to keep out routinely enough; moments later a Thauvin curler is also easily dealt with by Walke at the other end.

34 minIn fairness to Pele he did have to get down to keep out that Lainer shot - not quite as easy as it first looked. The match has burst into life over the past five minutes or so with both teams now going into attack mode for the game's second goal.

36 minMitroglu turns on the edge of the box and gets a powerful shot away, which Haidara did brilliantly to block down low. Salzburg working very hard now to restrict their opponents, while at the same time starting to get forward a little more.

38 minLes Phoceens have not showed near enough composure in the final third since edging in front. It looked as though one goal would become two, but credit to Salzburg for wresting back some control and arguably edging things over the past 10 minutes.

40 minMarco Rose will be pleased with the first-half display from his side on the whole. The visiting boss will be disappointed by the manner of the first goal, of course, but this is nothing new for his side - they have regularly battled back from behind.

42 minPayet has been the best player on the field so far, sending in another decent delivery that Ocampos could not quite bring under control. Marseille all about flair, while the Austrian visitors are far more patient in their build-up play.

44 minA tight first half is edging towards an end, with 60 seconds or so left to play unless the referee feels the need to add on any additional time. Marseille the side in front thanks to a Thauvin header 15 minutes into the contest.


8.53pmUlmer blasts the ball wide of target from the last meaningful act of the first half. The visitors started slowly and were behind 15 minutes in, but they have grown more and more into the contest and will feel confident of snatching an away goal.

8.56pmSalzburg, the only remaining side in the competition yet to lift a major UEFA trophy, took some time to get going in the sold-out Veledrome and were behind 15 minutes in. Dimitri Payet, now directly involved in seven knockout-round goals, sent in a perfect set-piece delivery for Florian Thauvin to guide past Alexander Walke, although the final touch came off his hand.

8.59pmWith momentum on their side and a vociferous home backing, the Ligue 1 outfit went in search of a second and nearly got it when Morgan Sanson blasted a couple of yards wide. After around half an hour momentum started to shift slightly, however, and Salzburg - who took four points off their opponents in the group stage - started to enjoy more of the ball in advanced positions.

9.02pmStefan Lainer's shot from 25 yards gave Yohann Pele a little something to think about down low from their first and only first-half effort on target, moments before Thauvin's curler was collected by Walke at the other end. Still plenty to play for in the second half, then, with this tie still finely poised. Let us remind ourselves of both sides' benches...


MARSEILLE SUBS: Bedimo, Escales, Germain, Njie, Rolando, Sertic, Anguissa

RED BULL SALZBURG SUBS: Stankovic, Onguene, Pongracic, Yabo, Minamino, Schlager, Gulbrandsen

46 minRESTART! We are back under way at the Stade Veledrome, where neither manager has made any changes. The message from Marco Rose will likely to be to keep things the same, even if his side do find themselves a goal down.

48 minMarseille must decide whether to push for a second goal or sit back a little more and prevent the opposition from scoring an away goal. The Austrians are back in control of the match, passing the ball from back to front.

50 minOcampos has picked up a knock and requires some treatment. A small stoppage in play while that happens, giving me time to update you on events in North London - it remains goalless with six minutes of the second half played between Arsenal and Atletico.

52 minMARSEILLE SUB! Lucas Ocampos is unable to continue after picking up an injury to his leg and is replaced by Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa - a more defensive-minded change than expected, perhaps, which says a lot about Garcia's priorities.

54 minSAVE! Hannes Wolf bursts through on goal but he is unable to get the better of Yohann Pele, who lifts the ball over the bar - great save! Prior to that, the visiting side had a pretty weak penalty shout rejected.

56 minMomentum is with the visitors, as it has been for the past 30 minutes of playing time. It should be 1-1, but Pele produced a big save to keep out Wolf from the one-on-one position to ensure that Marseille have a slender advantage on home soil.

58 minA pretty stop-start feel to the second half, but it remains Salzburg who are the more likely to net. The visitors appear to be readying a first change of the evening, and there is also some movement on the Marseille bench as we approach the hour.

60 minSUBS! Clinton Njie is on for Maxime Lopez in the hosts' second change; Fredrik Gulbrandsen replaces Hee-Chan Hwang for the visitors. Payet goes down on the edge of the area but it initially looked to be a good challenge.

62 minSAVE! Thauvin with his third attempt on target of the evening, which unlike the first one is simple for Walke to deal with down the middle. A header from the corner, as the home side attempt to take back control of the match.


65 minThe substitute puts Marseille two in front somewhat against the run of play, taking Dimitri Payet's pass into his path and tucking it past Alexander Walke. A nice move from the French side and the calmest of finishes from the ex-Tottenham man.

67 minSAVE! Salzburg now having to push a little harder for an away goal after that Njie strike. Valon Berisha has a save pushed aside by Pele, and the home side are able to regroup. Rose will wonder how his side are two behind.

69 minRED BULL SALZBURG SUB! Marco Rose made a big call by selecting Hannes Wolf over Xaver Schlager tonight - the latter is now on for the former with a little over 20 minutes to go and Salzburg chasing an away goal.

71 minCHANCE! Diadie Samassekou with a wayward shot, leading to an instant apology to his teammates alongside him. The ball was then pulled back for Munas Dabbur, who got under it from 15 yards and failed to so much as test Pele.

73 minA little over 15 minutes of the tie to go and Marseille will now want to simply see this one through - job done. Concede, though, and all of a sudden the two-legged affair has an entirely different look to it ahead of next week's return match.

75 minJust the one attempt on goal for Salzburg this evening. The visitors have looked good for large parts of the match but created just one chance when on top, which Hannes Wolf failed to make the most of when one-on-one.

77 minOFF THE POST! Salzburg so, so close to the away goal they crave. Not the easiest of chances for Fredrik Gulbrandsen, who made good contact with the ball but thumped it right against the post which is still shaking now!

79 minMarseille trying their best to break up play now, with Thauvin down seemingly complaining of cramp. The home side appear ready to make their third and final change, as their opponents are knocking on the door for a route back into the match.

81 minSUBS! Valere Germain is on for opening goalscorer Florian Thauvin in a like-for-like change up top. Salzburg also make their third and final change - Reinhold Yabo is on for Amadou Haidara with nine minutes left to play.

83 minSalzburg losing shape a little as they take risks to find a goal - they know how important it is to find the net in these closing stages. Time is against them, as there is now around 10 minutes left to play with added time factored in.

85 minMarseille fans have upped the decibel levels once again, urging their players over the line. They will have one foot in the final, which is on French soil remember, if they can see through these next five minutes. Very tense at the Stade Veledrome!

87 minSalzburg have given a decent account of themselves tonight and, even with a two-goal deficit to overturn, they will not be down and out after this. This tie still has a long way to run if it does remain this way, but a third Marseille goal would change that.

89 minWe are into the final minute of normal time now and the visitors just cannot create that final killer chance. They have certainly had their openings, both at 1-0 and 2-0, and their failure to take either gives Marseille a big advantage.

90+1 minWe are one minute into added time and the game has developed a familiar theme now. Salzburg bombarding the hosts' box but failing to find a way through. A penalty appeal is correctly waved away as there was not enough contact made.


10.05pmGoals from Florian Thauvin and substitute Clinton Njie give Marseille a 2-0 win against Red Bull Salzburg in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final tie. The hosts were ahead 15 minutes in when Thauvin got on the end of a teasing Dimitri Payet delivery, although the final touch appeared to come off his hand, before substitute Njie coolly doubled his side's tally in the second half.

10.07pmThat concludes Sports Mole's live text coverage of events at the Stade Veledrome. An on-the-whistle report can be found by clicking here, while reaction from the other semi-final between Arsenal and Atletico Madrid will be available elsewhere on the site shortly. Thanks for joining!

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