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Marseille thrash Leipzig to reach Europa League semi-final

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Dimitri Payet scored Marseille's fourth goal following a mazy run into the Leipzig penalty area. Reuters/Jean-Paul Pelissier

Marseille produced a thrilling fightback on Thursday night to advance to the last four of the Europa League. Trailing 1-0 from the first leg at RB Leipzig, Marseille were immediately under the cosh after Bruma swept home for the visitors inside two minutes.


Needing three goals to progress, they responded by half-time via a Stefan Ilsanker own goal, Bouna Sarr and Florian Thauvin.

Jean-Kevin Augustin scored 10 minutes into the second half for Leipzig to make it 3-2 and give Leipzig the advantage on the away goals rule.

But Marseille skipper Dimitri Payet restored the hosts' lead with a flourish.

Picking up the ball 35 metres out on the right from Thauvin, Payet bamboozled Ilsanker with a stepover transferring the ball from his right to his left foot and surged into the box.

Silky skills

The rest of the Leipzig defenders appeared to be hypnotised by his silky skills and failed to close him down. Payet thrashed home gleefully in the top left-hand corner past goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi.

Hiroki Sakai scored Marseille's fifth in stoppage time on a counterattack after Leipzig had sent all their players up for a corner in search of a decisive third goal.

"There aren't many moments in your career when you can have this sort of experience," said Marseille boss Rudi Garcia after the game. "You work for occasions like this when everybody does a good job together. It was a brilliant night of European football."

Marseille will go into Friday's semi-final draw with Arsenal, Atletico Madrid and Salzburg.

"After seeing Roma come back against Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday night, I knew we needed a passionate crowd behind us," added Garcia. "I've nothing but pride to see and feel the atmosphere in the Velodrome. It's on nights like this that you realise just how special these fans can be. We know that they'll be our 12th man in the semi-finals."