PLAYER RATINGS | Atalanta 3-0 Marseille: OM exit the Europa League with a whimper – Get French Football News

PLAYER RATINGS | Atalanta 3-0 Marseille: OM exit the Europa League with a whimper – Get French Football News

UEFA Europa League, Semi-final, 09/05/24

Olympique de Marseille crashed out of the UEFA Europa League after a timid performance in Bergamo (3-0, agg. 4-1) against an Atalanta side who progress to the final, where they will face Bayer Leverkusen.

Back in Marseille, a former Phocéen legend in the shape of Didier Drogba was lighting the Olympic cauldron outside the Vélodrome. A day earlier, Basile Boli had carried the Olympics torch as it arrived at the port of Marseille. While OM legends roamed the streets of Marseille, the current crop had their chance to write their own history in Bergamo.

After a 1-1 draw at the Vélodrome last week, Chancel Mbemba said that OM would “go to war” in Bergamo, whilst in an exclusive interview with Get French Football News, Ismaila Sarr said that OM were “determined to fight.” However, it did not show in the opening 45 minutes. Marseille lacked intensity and awareness out of possession and lacked synchronicity and quality in possession. 

Atalanta therefore dominated and logically led at the break. Charles De Ketelaere had an early chance to open the scoring and put the Italian side ahead in the tie, but having rounded Pau Lopez, he struck the outside of the post with his shot from a tight angle. Atalanta would strike the woodwork again before taking the lead through Ademola Lookman, who unpressured on the edge of the OM box, curled a deflected effort past Lopez. 

The Nigerian forward could have doubled his account had he not slipped at the crucial moment when one-on-one against Lopez. The Spaniard was busy throughout and was called into action again when De Ketelaere strolled through. Lopez did well to make himself big and close the angle, whilst Davide Zappacosta also had a great chance after being slipped in behind. Had he shown better composure, he may have spotted Gianluca Scamacca and Lookman in glorious goal-scoring positions. 

That Marseille went in just one goal down was more a testament to Atalanta’s profligacy than OM’s defending. Improvement was sorely needed if Jean-Louis Gasset’s men were to book their place in the final in Dublin later this month. There was no discernible improvement upon the return from the dressing room. 

Iliman Ndiaye had a golden chance to restore parity just minutes into the second half. Jonathan Clauss’ ball over the top was met by the former Sheffield United forward, who had the vision to spot Juan Musso in no-man’s-land but didn’t have the execution to beat him with his chip. 

That miss was immediately punished. Some more poor, half-hearted defending from Marseille saw them slip out of reach with Matteo Ruggeri unopposed as he burst into the box and blasted past Lopez. Still, there was an absence of response. Jordan Veretout, with a misguided long-range free-kick, struck the bar, but it was the closest that Les Phocéens came. 

The match drifted but even as it did, it was Atlanta who created the better chances and their third goal of the night, scored in the dying second by El Bilal Touré, fairly reflected Atalanta’s dominance and Marseille’s submission. Two French teams made it to the final of their respective European semi-finals, neither made it to the final.

Marseille player ratings

Pau Lopez – 6

The only reason that Marseille didn’t concede more, particularly in the first half. He was brave to close down Lookman in the first half, who was looking to atone for this slip, whilst he also made crucial saves from De Ketelaere. He could do nothing about the two goals conceded but he gave OM a chance that they failed to take. 

Leonardo Balerdi – 5
Samuel Gigot – 5
Chancel Mbemba – 4
Quentin Merlin – 4
Jordan Veretout – 5
Geoffrey Kondogbia – 3
Jonathan Clauss – 3

Absent for large periods of the game, when he did appear his contribution was rarely positive with the France international either slowing down attacks or killing them entirely. 

Amine Harit – 4
Iliman Ndiaye – 3

It was a fairytale story when he returned to his childhood club at the start of the season but the rest of the campaign has certainly not kept to that script. It has been a difficult season and this game against Atlanta was a microcosm of it. Some bright touches but also a lot of sloppiness, clumsy dispossessions and importantly, big misses. He had OM’s only chance of the game and he missed it. Minutes later, Atalanta were 2-0 ahead. 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 4

Atalanta selected player ratings

Charles De Ketelaere – 7

Lacked the finishing touch but was dangerous throughout. The sheer amount of chances that came to De Ketelaere is a testament to his intelligent movement as much as it is the startling lack of awareness in the Marseille defence. Out-of-possession, he was also diligent, making it difficult for OM to play out from the back, allowing Atalanta to build pressure, particularly in the first-half.

Ademola Lookman – 7

GFFN | Luke Entwistle

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