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Marseille vs Shakhtar Donetsk preview, team news, match tickets and prediction

Marseille vs Shakhtar Donetsk preview, team news, match tickets and prediction

Italian veteran Gennaro Gattuso took over at the French outfit in late September; a period in which they went 6 straight matches without a win. That phase saw the sack of then manager Marcelino Garcia and interim manager Jacques Abardonado freed up from the claws of the job after a 4-0 defeat to defending league champions Paris Saint-Germain.

Attempting to begin a fairytale under new management, Marseille went 2-0 up to Brighton and Hove Albion at home in his first European game with the club courtesy goals from Chancel Mbemba and Jordan Veretout. That run was however not enough to see them through as Pascal Gross pegged one back just before half an hour. A late 88th-minute Joao Pedro penalty sealed a full-time draw for the seagulls at the expense of Marseille.

Gattuso has since then repositioned the French side on the upward spiral as they have now found a better form in league exploits and even better across Europe.

Seeing them concede to a second spot just two points off group leaders Brighton and Hove Albion.

In arguably the tournament's group of death featuring AFC Ajax, Brighton, and Greek outfit AEK Athen. They were only defeated by the lone Brighton goal courtesy of Joao Pedro in the 88th minute yet again in the reverse fixture.

They played out a 3-3 draw with Ajax in the Dutch capital and a 4-3 return victory back home in France both games spearheaded by the attacking onus of summer signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. He found the back of the net twice in the initial encounter and completed the rout with a well-taken hat trick in the return outing. AEK Athens suffered consecutive 3-1 and 2-0 defeats to Marseille posing no threat whatsoever. Gattuso's side are heavy on form heading into this encounter and will be ready to go all the way in this edition.

Ukrainian outfit FC Shakhtar Donetsk come into the first round of the Europa League knockout stages having finished as second runner-up in their UEFA Champions League group. They were pitted in the same group as FC Barcelona, FC Porto and Belgian side Royal Antwerp.

The battle for second spot went to the very last matchday when they took on Porto. Having returned Porto's lead early in the encounter and looked to be on cruise control, they somehow shattered after the second half. The Ukrainian team conceded 3 more goals, lost the game 5-3, and consequently had to settle for the spot available behind the Spanish and Portuguese giants.

They remarkably recorded successive wins over Barcelona and Antwerp in November (in fact securing victories in both ties against the Belgians) but it wasn't enough to get them through as they suffered defeats to both Barcelona and Porto in the remainder legs.

Their upset against Barcelona was the highlight of their group stage when Danylo Sikan rose highest to guide Giorgi Gocholeishvilli's ball past a helpless Ter Stegen at the Volksparkstadion stadium on the 7th of November. In a game, they looked increasingly comfortable and miles ahead of FC Barcelona. Managing to squander 4 big chances despite all of their defensive solidity in the encounter.

In terms of head-to-head, there has been no official meeting recorded between both sides.

The dual-legged encounters will serve as a chance for one side to register an advantage over their counterparts in the long run.

Match tickets

This return leg has been scheduled for the historic Stade Orange Velodrome in France on Thursday, the 22nd of February, 2024 at 20:00 GMT.

The magnificent 67,000-capacity stadium will host this exciting fixture, which is probably the biggest of the round in the Europa League.

Getting tickets for the Marseille vs Shakhtar Donetsk tickets could take a lot of work given the standard of this game. Hence, you are advised to search ticket reselling sites should they be expectedly sold out on each club's channels.

Team news

Lineups

Joaquin Correa is the only long-term injury worry with the horrific ankle injury he suffered against Ajax in November. Summer signings Ismaila Sarr, and Iliman Ndiaye alongside Amine Harit, Pape Gueye, and Azzedine Ounahi will all be back from their African Cup of Nations exploits with their respective countries and should form a big part of the team.

Aubameyang; the club's top scorer in both domestic competitions and European inclinations will seek to continue his prolific form in front of goal at the tournament. He will be atop the team's offensive plans for the encounter with support coming from Ndiaye and Sarr out wide.

Marseille XI: Lopez; Gigot, Balerdi, Mbemba; Clauss, Veretout, Kondogbia, Ounahi, Sarr; Aubameyang, Ndiaye.

Shakhtar Donetsk's last competitive game was the December 13th affair with FC Porto, which spells they would have both their encounters with Marseille before their domestic inclinations resume with their late February fixture with FC Oleksandriya. Club captain Stepanenko will undoubtedly lead the charge from the middle of the park with highly sought midfielders Georgiy Sudakov and Artem Bondarenko.

Shakhtar Donetsk XI: Riznyik; Konoplia, Bondar, Matviienko, Azarov; Stepanenko; Zubkov, Kryskiv, Sudakov, Newerton; Sikan.

Prediction

Both sides have all to play for in the upcoming encounters as whichever team secures victory will undoubtedly take an open spot in the round of 16.

Gennaro Gattuso has unearthed a new look in Marseille since he took over the job in September but Marino Pusic's outfit are no pushovers and are known to stage upsets at European stages. Just like they did against Barcelona last year and they have against other teams in most recent years.

Marseille 2-1 Shakhtar Donetsk




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