Marseille’s penalty shootout hero Pau López thanks 2nd choice Ruben Blanco for help

Pau López (29) became one of the heroes of the night for Olympique de Marseille after he saved António Silva’s (20) attempt in the penalty shootout, helping his side eliminate Benfica and progress to the Europa League semi-final. 

Marseille mounted an impressive comeback on an evening where injuries and fatigue led to the debuts of two academy products Gaël Lafont (17) and Raimane Daou (19). A goal from Faris Moumbagna (23) was enough to force the game (2-2 on aggregate) into extra-time with the two teams needing to be separated by penalties. 

There was to be no déjà vu for López who had been replaced at the start of the season by Rubén Blanco (28) for the penalty shootout elimination to Panathinaikos in the third qualifying round for the Champions. Jean-Louis Gasset trusted in his starting keeper and the results were impressive. 

After the game, López was sure to thank Blanco for his help before the game, as he explained “The truth is that I’m not good at penalties. This morning we talked and Ruben had the idea to change my approach a little and decide before the match where I would go. I knew before where I was going to go, so I didn’t have to think about it during the match.” 

GFFN | Nick Hartland

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