Olympique de Marseille carry an away goal advantage into their UEFA Europa League play-off round second leg match against NK Domzale after Morgan Sanson scored (63′) to cancel out Amedej Vetrih’s opener (12′) in Ljubljana.
Thursday, 17 August, 2017
UEFA Europa League play-offs, first leg
Stadion Stozice, Ljubljana
NK Domzale 1-1 Olympique de Marseille
Adil Rami looked to have headed Marseille into an early lead after meeting Lucas Ocampos’ free-kick from the left, but the summer signing from Sevilla was denied his first OM goal with the offside flag going up against him (3′). Instead it was Domzale who opened the scoring in the Slovenian capital, with Vetrih finding space at the back post following Senijad Ibricic’s long ball into the box to steer the ball past OM goalkeeper Steve Mandanda (12′). Marseille – runners up in this competition in 1999 and 2004 – were unlucky not to go into the half-time break on level terms, though. Rudi Garcia’s men dominated after the opener, but Patrice Evra fired over (28′) before Mandanda’s opposite number Dejan Milic pulled off a pair of fine saves to deny Florian Thauvin (36′) and Maxime Lopez (43′).
Matija Sirok threatened Mandanda’s goal soon after the restart (48′), but OM continued to dominate into the second half, with Rami seeing another header ruled out for offside following a Thauvin set piece (56′). The visitors finally restored parity just past the hour when Thauvin shrugged off two markers before picking out Sanson, who fired an emphatic left-foot shot beyond Milic for 1-1 (63′). The Montpellier Hérault SC nearly doubled his tally minutes later, but this time Milic got down low to stop his shot from range (65′). Milic pulled off another save from Ocampos (71′) before Domzale put together the final chance of the game late on, with Mandanda parrying away a Petar Franjic shot (81′), as it ended 1-1 at the Stadion Stozice.
THE PLAYER: Jan Repas
Marseille figure to see plenty more of Jan Repas, with the attacking midfielder signing a contract with SM Caen a matter of hours before the match. The diminutive 20-year-old was kept quiet here, but with three goals and two assists from his ten games in all competitions this season, the Slovenia Under-21 international – at around €1 million – is likely to prove a shrewd acquisition for the Normandy club.
THE STAT: 100
Marseille remain undefeated this season. Les Phocéens beat Dutch side KV Oostende 4-2 over two legs to make it to the Europa League play-off round, while victories over Djon FCO and FC Nantes make them one of just five teams with a 100 per cent record at this early stage of the Ligue 1 Conforama campaign. Rudi Garcia’s men have every reason to be confident that they can turn finish this tie off when they get Domzale back to the Stade Vélodrome next Thursday.