Atletico Madrid Beats Marseille in Europa League Final
The UEFA Europa League is the second-largest club soccer tournament in the world. It may be a step below the Champions League, but winning the title is still very prestigious. After a long knockout process that began in February, Marseille and Atletico Madrid were the final two teams remaining. Neither team has a chance to win their domestic league, so a Europa League title is just what they need to salvage their season. The final game was held in Lyon on Wednesday, May 16.
With the final game being played in France, Marseille had to like their chances to hoist the trophy. The passionate fans from Marseille only had to make a short train trip to turn this into a home game. The French club dominated possession early in the match, but they had trouble getting clear shots on goal. A defensive lapse by Marseille allowed Atletico Madrid to grab the opening goal in the 21st minute. Antoine Griezmann scored for the Spanish club.
After trying to play through an injury, Dimitri Payet was forced to leave the game in the 32nd minute. Payet is easily the most important player on the Marseille roster, so the it was a huge loss. The team was simply unable to generate a threatening offense attack without their star player on the field. This allowed Atletico Madrid to dominate for most of the second half. Antoine Griezmann scored his second goal of the game in the 49th minute.
Marseille managed to take several shot attempts in the second half, but most of them completely missed the goal. Their lone scoring chance came in the 81st minute. Kostas Mitroglou hit the left post with a header shortly after entering the game as a substitute. With Marseille forced to send all of their players forward in hopes of getting a late goal, Atletico Madrid added a third goal in the 89th minute. The final goal was scored by Gabi after a beautiful pass by Koke.
The 3-0 victory earned Atletico Madrid their third UEFA Europa League title in team history. Their last tournament victory came in 2012. The Spanish clubs have historically dominated this tournament. They have now won the Europa League 11 times in its 47-year history. No team from France's Ligue 1 has been able to win the prestigious tournament. Marseille became the fifth French team to lose in the final match.
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