Marseille came tantalisingly close to securing their spot in the Champions League last 16, but a late winner from Pierre-Emile Højbjerg undid all their work and sent them crashing out of European football entirely, with Tottenham Hotspur progressing instead.
The hosts enjoyed a barnstorming first half were virtually every chance fell their way, from Alexis Sánchez’s tireless work in the box to Jordan Veretout’s half-volley forcing a strong save from Hugo Lloris. Eventually, their reward came as Chancel Mbemba powered home a header for the opener from Jordan Veretout’s cross, capping off an excellent showing so far from both players.
It was a reinvigorated Spurs side that came out for the second half, attacking with more precision and finding ways out of Marseille’s press. Clément Lenglet would head in the equaliser, from a free-kick given away by Mattéo Guendouzi. The last twenty minutes saw Igor Tudor’s men continue to push but failed to rediscover the spark they had in the first half, with Spurs easily fending off their attacks. With the last kick of the game, Højbjerg secured the win for the visitors on the break after a Guendouzi turnover created a 3 on 1 situation. So close, yet so far.
Marseille player ratings v Tottenham Hotspur:
Pau López, 5
Leonardo Balerdi, 6
Chancel Mbemba, 9 – Imperious in the first half and rose to head in the opener. Tailed off slightly in the second half as Spurs gained confidence going forward, but still put in some vital tackles -including a last-ditch effort on Harry Kane – to keep his team in it. OM’s best player right now.
Eric Bailly, 5 – The Ivorian’s return to action was cut short straight away as injury reared its head again – replaced by Samuel Gigot before the tenth-minute mark.
Jonathan Clauss, 5
Valentin Rongier, 5
Jordan Veretout, 6 – An effective game for Veretout, who notably set up Mbemba’s opener but also kept play ticking over in midfield – his best match for Marseille so far.
Nuno Tavares, 6
Mattéo Guendouzi, 3 – The ever-involved midfielder was the weak link for Marseille on the attack and often made the wrong choice – the French international was deployed too far forward. The equaliser came from a free-kick he conceded, late winner came from his turnover.
Alexis Sánchez, 7 – Tireless going forward – would have scored the winner late on if not for a great block from Lenglet. Was less isolated up front than usual thanks to Marseille’s adventurous approach and led an impressive pressing game, although also quite wasteful.
GFFN | Raphaël Jucobin