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Marseille suffer second Champions League heartbreak in four days

Marseille had to beat Atlético Madrid in the Europa League final or finish third in Ligue 1 to qualify for the Champions League. They did neither but should still be proud of their season

By Adam White and Eric Devin for Get French Football News

Marseille’s longest-serving player, Steve Mandanda, started the week by winning his record-breaking fifth goalkeeper of the year award in France. His team-mate, Florian Thauvin, was shortlisted for the player of the year award after scoring 22 goals in Ligue 1 and Luiz Gustavo also capped a fine individual season by featuring in the team of the year. Marseille have made immense progress this season, competing on two fronts despite their severely limited squad, but any mood of jubilation around the club last weekend has been battered by their failure to qualify for the Champions League twice in four days.

Their defeat to Atlético Madrid in the Europa League final on Wednesday felt inevitable. The Spanish side have more resources, more resolve and a coach with more acumen in the form of Diego Simeone. Marseille looked bright in the early stages but, when a big chance came Valère Germain’s way he snatched at it, something you cannot do against such parsimonious opponents. Things went from bad to worse for Marseille when Dimitri Payet suffered a recurrence of a hamstring injury that had cast a doubt on his fitness before the final. Payet’s resilience and good recent form had put him in the running to feature in Didier Deschamps’ squad for the World Cup, so he was understandably distraught as he left the pitch.

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