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Marseille vs Atalanta: Preview and Prediction

A clash of titans awaits as Marseille, unbeaten in UEFA Cup/UEL semi-finals, faces Atalanta for the first time, aiming to extend their perfect record in this stage of the competition. The French side boasts a flawless 3-for-3 record at this stage but has fallen short in each subsequent final. They hope to give themselves another chance to lift a major European trophy for only the second time.

Coach Jean-Louis Gasset is aware of the importance of taking an advantage in the first leg, and it will require a performance worthy of ending Marseille’s seven-match winless streak against Italian clubs (2n, 5d). The Phocéens can count on the backing of the Stade Vélodrome crowd, which has propelled their team to seven consecutive home wins in the LEU knockout stages. Moreover, the home fans have witnessed only two OM defeats in their last 18 European matches on their own turf, in all competitions (12v, 4n).

Atalanta, therefore, faces a daunting task, but it will be hard to intimidate a team that recently claimed a 3-0 victory at Anfield, knocking out Liverpool in the quarter-finals. A 1-0 home defeat in the second leg did little to dampen the spirits as the team celebrated their second European semi-final appearance after their 1987/88 campaign.

Since the Liverpool loss in Bergamo, La Dea has been flawless, winning their last three matches. So, another masterpiece from Gian Piero Gasperini at the helm of a team in such fine form can be expected. Their chances of success are further boosted by the fact that they are unbeaten in their last eight away matches in the LEU (5v, 3n).

Players to watch: All eyes will be on the all-time leading goalscorer in the LEU, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. He has scored the last goal in four of his six appearances as a goalscorer for Marseille in the competition this season. He will be up against the in-form Gianluca Scamacca, who will be well-rested after having a weekend break. He has contributed to ten goals in as many matches recently (8g, 2a).

Hot stat: Atalanta has lost only two first legs in their last 16 two-legged ties in European competition (6v, 8n).

Prediction: Marseille vs Atalanta (2-2)

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