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Europa League

Marseille 0-0 Feyenoord (2-3 Agg)

Feyenoord clung to a first-leg Europa Conference League semi-final lead to the final after holding Marseille to a 0-0 draw at Stade Velodrome for a 3-2 aggregate victory.

The Eredivisie outfit weathered an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink performance in attack from their hosts amid a frequently raucous atmosphere in Provence to make history.

It takes the Dutch side to a first major European final appearance since 2002,

when they defeated Borussia Dortmund to claim what was then the UEFA Cup.

But for Jorge Sampaoli, it will be a draw that tastes like defeat as Les Olympiens missed the chance.

A shot at their first bit of continental silverware since the 2005 Intertoto Cup.

With Marseille coming into the match needing a victory to at the very least enforce a run into extra time.

It was a lively opening half an hour from the hosts.

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Backed by an army of flare-wielding fans – to the point that visibility was seriously reduced by smoke over the first quarter-hour – they pressed hard for an early advantage.

Yet Arne Slot’s charges held firm, and the Ligue 1 side was handed a hefty creative blow.

When Dmitri Payet was forced off with an innocuous issue in the 33rd minute.

Luis Sinisterra subsequently missed a chance to craft a two-goal aggregate cushion for Feyenoord straight after the break when he pushed his header into Steve Mandanda’s gloves.

With time running out to find an answer, tempers began to flare across the final quarter.

With Gerson and Lutsharel Geertruida physically squaring off at one point.

Another fracas between both players set the tone for a fierce final few minutes.

But with Marseille unable to ultimately crack the Dutch defence, their visitors held on to set up a trip to Tirana, where they will face Roma.

Starting lineup:

MARSEILLE (4-3-3): Steve Mandanda; Valentin Rongier, William Saliba, Boubacar Kamara, Luan Peres; Matteo Guendouzi, Pape Gueye, Gerson; Amine Harit, Dimitri Payet, Bamba Dieng.

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FEYENOORD (4-3-3): Ofir Marciano; Lutsharel Geertruida, Gernot Trauner, Marcos Senesi, Tyrell Malacia; Guus Til, Fredrik Aursnes, Orkun Kokcu; Reiss Nelson, Cyriel Dessers, Luis Sinisterra.

So, what’s next?

Feyenoord progressed to their first European final in 20 years, thanks to a well-disciplined performance in this leg to follow up their barnstorming victory in the first.

Marseille will rue their chances and, just like in the 2018 Europa League final, will wonder what could’ve been had their talisman Payet not left the pitch injured before half-time.

They miss the chance to reach a UEFA finale for the first time since that day.

And it’s Feyenoord who will take on Roma in Tirana.

Likewise, for more football news like this, click here.

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