Aleksandr Pavlenko and Roman Pavlyuchenko scored, as Spartak Moskva won 2-0 at home against Marseille,and were yet knocked out of the competiotion as Marseille edge through with 2-3 on aggregate.
The Russian side was looking forward to capitalize on Marseille’s 3-0 loss in the Ligue 1 fixture last week. Marseille were humbled in Moscow when Pavlenko scored in the 39th minute and Pavlyuchenko scoring with just five minutes remaining, but Marseille hung on to their 3-0 win on the 1st leg to scrape through to the next round.
Marseille have been excellent form this year as they won consecutive matches in Ligue 1 to push themselves from the bottom half of the table to the top half. They were beaming with confidence and it showed as they started the game off in great attacking fashion. Even when midfielder Charles Kaboré was injured it didn’t stop them to create a host of chances. Matthieu Valbuena led the way for the French side as he came awefully close to scoring when his shot hit the post with the goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa nowhere near the ball.
Shortly afterwards Valbuena had another with his shot over the bar and the next time forcing a save from the keeper. Cisse came very close to scoring for Marseille as his shot was just wide in the 19th minute. Spartak came alive only towards the end of the half when Welliton made Mandanda work for the 1st time, followed by a goal from Pavlenko to put them 1-0 ahead before half-time. Confusion was caused in Marseille’s defence from a cross and Pavlenko took full advantage volleying the ball in the top corner.
In the second half Spartak started where they left off dominating possession and looking for reducing their deficit of goals on aggregate, but failed to unrest Mandanda. With just 5 minutes to go Marseille had to cope with a strenuous finish to the game as Pavlyuchenko scored from close range giving his side a chance to draw level on aggregate, in the end it was not to be.
[By: Shahnawaz Alam]
Photo: Getty Images