.And here come the 2018 Europa League winners: Atletico Madrid! Having lost a couple of Champions League finals in recent seasons, this is a huge release of emotion for quite a few of these players. Fernando Torres, of course, but this is the first trophy Antoine Griezmann has won for Atletico too. Gabi takes possession of the trophy and raises it ... generously allowing Torres to share the moment! The red-and-white ticker tape showers down, as the players bounce like they’ve never bounced before.
A few of the Marseille players in tears, as you’d expect in these circumstances. But they’re magnanimous in defeat, too, embracing their opponents and offering congratulations. Plenty of smiling Atletico men, though, as Eric Abidal carries the trophy to the presentation plinth. They form a guard of honor as the officials walk up to receive their medals, but mainly so they can applaud the 2018 Europa League runners-up Marseille. Bittersweet scenes. Poor Dimitri Payet, tears still stinging his eyes, takes off his medal the second it’s draped around his neck. In addition to tonight’s disappointment, his World Cup chances now hang in the balance.
Atletico cavort around the pitch, their fans singing their praises. Though it’s difficult to hear them because Uefa are blasting some very intrusive music over the PA. Has somebody let Offenbach back in? Joyous scenes nonetheless! Sad ones for Marseille, though. Atletico have deserved champions, having bossed that match since the 21st minute, when they were gifted the lead by Andre Zambo Anguissa’s terrible mistake. Antoine Griezmann scored two clinical goals, and that was pretty much that, Gabi embellishing the scoreline right at the end. But 0-3 doesn’t tell the whole story: Valere Germain missed a golden opportunity in the early exchanges, Dimitri Payet was forced off injured, and Kostas Mitroglou was so close to scoring with a towering header. It just wasn’t their night.
FULL TIME: Marseille 0-3 Atletico Madrid
And that’s it! Atletico Madrid are the Europa League champions for the third time!
90 min: And to huge, emotional cheers, here comes Fernando Torres! The one-time teenage captain of Atletico replaces the two-goal hero Griezmann. He’s finally going to win a major trophy with the club he’s supported since the age of five!
GOAL! Marseille 0-3 Atletico Madrid (Gabi 89)
This puts the tin lid and pretty bow on it. Atletico stream forward, Marseille having committed too many men forward. Grizemann spreads a pass wide left for Costa, who cuts back for Koke. Koke switches play towards Gabi, coming in from the right. Gabi lashes low and hard, across Mandanda, and into the bottom right. What a goal! What a performance by this wonderfully relentless Atletico Madrid side.
88 min: Atletico makes their second change of the night. Partey comes on for Correa. Will we see Torres?
87 min: Not sure how this is still 0-2. First up, Sarr and Rami take turns to gift possession to Atletico, just outside their own box. Diego Costa’s eventual shot is no good. Then up the other end, Njie is teed up just inside the area but shanks an awful effort out for a throw.
85 min: Marseille’s fans, to their eternal credit, are giving it plenty. It just hasn’t been their team’s night. Unless a story for the ages is about to be written.
83 min: Space for Sarr down the right. But his cutback isn’t all that. The ball’s half cleared. Amavi decides to have a thrash from 25 yards. He sends a sweet fizzer goalwards, through a thicket of players. But Oblak is a model of concentration and gathers a very difficult low bouncer.
81 min: And the luck’s with them, too. Because Marseille are an inch away from getting back into this final. Sanson curls a cross in from the right. Mitroglou rises highest, ten yards out, and plants a downwards header towards the bottom left. Oblak has beaten all ends up, but the ball bounces off the bottom of the left-hand post, across the face of goal, and is hacked clear. That’s so unfortunate, it was a beautiful header, a combination of power and precision, perfectly timed. It deserved a goal.
80 min: But their heads have gone. A loose pass in the midfield allows Griezmann to scamper goalwards. Nothing comes of that move, but Lucas takes up possession and is barged to the floor by Njie. A free kick, and a chance for Atletico to allow the clock to run down some more. They’ve been ruthless and rather brilliant since being gifted the opener.
78 min: Njie is booked for rather petulantly flicking a hand towards the face of Lucas. Marseille need to calm down if they’re to have any chance of a dramatic comeback.
77 min: Griezmann sends Costa scampering with intent down the inside-left channel. For a second, it looks like he’s shaping to hit a screaming, dipping, diagonal volley towards the right-hand portion of the goal. But he decides against it, and the chance to do something, anything is gone.
76 min: Gustavo is booked for blocking Gabi as the Atletico captain hugs the right touchline. It’s a foul, nothing more, but he’s talked himself into the book for arguing the toss with the linesman. The resulting free kick is wasted.
74 min: Germain, who passed up that early chance for Marseille, is sacrificed for Mitroglou. The last throw of the dice.
73 min: But there’s another one coming along soon enough, as Correa busies himself on the right. This one leads to an extended period of ball-hogging, the highlight of which being a glorious crossfield pass by Diego Costa. Atletico have seized back total control.
71 min: Griezmann curls the set piece into the box. Saul tries to guide a header into the top left. it comes off Gustavo for a corner, from which Koke crosses deep from the left. Mandanda is forced to tip an unpredictable dipper over. Another corner, then, this time on the right. And that one’s nothing to write home about at all.
69 min: Gustavo has a good old hack at Griezmann’s ankles. He should go in the book, but doesn’t. A free kick to Atletico, though, just outside the Marseille box on the left.
67 min: After a very quiet period, Marseille are giving this one last shot. Sanson fights his way down the right and tries to hook into the centre from a tight spot. Not quite: the cross sails over the crossbar. But at least Atletico have been given something to think about.
66 min: From the corner, Njie has a crack, but it’s blocked by Griezmann. And then another phase of attack, as Lopez dinks into the box from deep. The ball drops to Sanson, who leans back and hoicks over.
65 min: This is better from Marseille. Lopez makes space down the right and hooks inside. Thauvin’s header isn’t all that, and Oblak should claim, but Juanfran slices out for a corner instead. A rare miscommunication in the Atletico defence.
63 min: Sanson tries to strip Saul of his trousers in a midfield tussle. He doesn’t quite succeed, though he really should be going in the book.
61 min: Ocampos has ranted himself out, and is now slumped on the bench in Quiet Fume mode. His fume serves as a decent metaphor for Marseille themselves: totally spent, they don’t look as though they have a comeback in them. Still, stranger things have happened. But they need to do something soon.
60 min: Lucas dribbles with great purpose down the left. He nearly breaks clear for a shot, but settles for a corner. His determination wins a high five from Koke, who nearly knocks him over backwards with the gesture. The corner is a complete waste of time, mind, but there’s a picture of a team who aren’t planning to take their foot off the gas just yet.
58 min: Atletico are bossing it in every department right now. They’re pinging the ball around in very pretty triangles, Griezmann, Costa and Koke at the heart of everything. Marseille by comparison are struggling to string two passes together.
56 min: Ocampos takes up his position on the Marseille bench, ranting in the expressive style. He’s really not happy.
55 min: A disgruntled Ocampos - who has been one of Marseille’s better performers - is hooked. Clinton Njie, once of Tottenham Hotspur, comes on in his stead.
53 min: And from this one, Godin flashes a header wide right from close range. He should probably have wrapped this up, right there. Marseille are clinging on for dear life.
52 min: From the set piece, the ball’s worked to Griezmann, who has the smell of a hat-trick in his nostrils. His shot, from the right-hand edge of the D, is deflected wide right for another corner.
51 min: Marseille are on the rack now. They need to clear their heads, because when Costa tries to break into the box from the left, Rami comes across and nearly slices a clearance backward and over his own keeper, into the top right. Corner.
GOAL! Marseille 0-2 Atletico Madrid (Griezmann 49)
This was so simple. A huge hole in the Marseille midfield. Koke romps into it, and slips a ball down the inside-right for Griezmann. The striker buzzes into the box, draws Mandanda, and half-dinks, half-strokes the ball past the keeper and into the bottom left. What a gorgeous finish!
48 min: Correa cuts in from the right, having exchanged passes with Costa. Sarr does very well to stop him when, for a second, another goal looked on the cards. But it’s a futile gesture, because ...
47 min: A slow start to the second half. On the touchline, Atletico assistant coach German Burgos pulls on an extra gilet as the rain comes down in stair rods. Right now, Diego Simeone will be pleased he’s banned from the touchline and banished to the dry stand.
So here we go again! Atletico get the party restarted, having swapped off the already-booked Vrsaljko for Juanfran. Taking no chances. It’s tipping down in Lyon.
HALF TIME: Marseille 0-1 Atletico Madrid
And that’s that for the first half. It couldn’t have gone much worse for Marseille, who spurned an early gilt-edged chance, gave up the cheapest of goals, and lost their influential captain Dimitri Payet to injury. Atletico are 45 minutes away from their third Europa League trophy.
45 min: Thauvin is down now. He’s taken a deflected clearance flush in his trouser arrangement. Ooyah, oof.
44 min: Griezmann drops deep, and very nearly threads a pass down the left to release Costa into the Marseille box. Sarr does extremely well to spot what’s going on and intercept. For a second, there was very real danger on the cards.
42 min: Marseille have totally lost their rhythm since the loss of Payet. Atletico looks in control of this game now. Ocampos tries to Garrincha his way into the Atletico box from the left; it’s a nice run, but there’s simply too many red-and-white shirts to diddle his way past. No way through.
40 min: There are loads of smoke billowing across the pitch again. Either a fan has let off a flare, or Offenbach have returned with their decks. Those house DJs are a menace to society.
38 min: And it’s a free kick, of course. It’s basically a corner from the right. Koke whips it in, and Godin clanks a header miles over the bar from close range.
37 min: Amavi and Correa contest a 50-50 with a couple of dainty high-kicks. Correa goes down and rolls around quite a bit. There’s nothing in that, but Amavi is clearly frustrated because, as play restarts and Vrsaljko romps down the right, he comes across and clatters him to such an extent that a yellow card is a no-brainer.
35 min: Sanson looks to break quickly upfield with Atletico light at the back. He bursts past Gabi, but the Atletico captain is brushed and goes down cutely to win a free kick that puts a stop to Marseille’s gallop. The crowd - the majority supporting Marseille - go wild.
34 min: Lopez is immediately in the action, chasing after a pass slipped down the right by the impressively relentless Sarr. There’s too much juice on the ball and it flies out of play for a goal kick.
32 min: Yep, he’s taking his armband off. The poor chap is in floods of tears as he limps off. Maxime Lopez comes on in his stead. That’s a huge blow for Marseille, whose world has fallen apart in the last ten minutes.
31 min: The game’s paused, as Payet is down, holding that troublesome thigh. Oh no. This could be terrible luck for the Marseille captain.
29 min: Sarr clatters into the back of Lucas Hernandez. Free kick in the middle of the park. Atletico take an age over it, withdrawing a little of the sting from the game. They’re streetwise all right.
27 min: Thauvin finds a bit of space on the right and loops into the Atletico box. Oblak rises and gathers with confidence. This game is nothing if end to end.
26 min: And now a free kick for Atletico, out on the right. Koke takes and finds Correa on the right-hand corner of the six-yard box. He swivels and shoots the first time. Mandanda collects, and the flag’s up for offside anyway.
24 min: Payet lifts the resulting free-kick into the Atletico mixer. There’s a game of head tennis, and then from the middle of the melee, Ocampo tries to loop a header into the top right. It forces Oblak to scamper back in panic, but it’s always going over. Goal kick.
23 min: Ocampos tries to respond by bombing down the left. He’s shoulder-blocked by Vrsaljko, who is booked for his cynicism.
GOAL! Marseille 0-1 Atletico Madrid (Griezmann 21)
So having said that, naturally, Atletico takes the lead. And what a mistake in the Marseille defense. Mandanda rolls a pass out to Zambo Anguissa, who takes a horrible swipe at the ball and shanks it straight to Griezmann, who has a clear run at goal from 30 yards. He’s not looking this gift horse in the mouth and slips a low shot into the bottom left. And after Marseille starting so well, too.
20 min: Thauvin, deep on the right, looks to find Ocampos in the Atletico area with a curler towards the far post. He’s not far off. Oblak claims, but Marseille are causing Atletico quite a few problems here.
19 min: Payet tries to Le Tissier a dropping ball into the net from 30 yards, with a lazy waft of his wand-like leg. Not quite as easy as the old Southampton legend used to make it look, that skill.
17 min: Ocampos bursts down the left. For a second, it looks as though he’ll make it all the way to the box, but he’s ushered inside into traffic and the move breaks down. In the middle, the heavily involved Koke ensures the lurking Germain doesn’t get anywhere near a speculative cross.
15 min: But Atletico comes straight back at Marseille. This time a half-clearance falls to Koke, who acrobatically leaps high and flicks a volley towards the top left from distance. It’s always going wide, but that’s their first shot in anger.
14 min: ... and loops it harmlessly into the area. Luiz Gustavo clears.
13 min: Zambo Anguissa clumsily bundles Correa to the ground, just to the right of the Marseille area. A chance for Atletico to load the box. Koke stands over the set-piece ...
11 min: Marseille are enjoying the lion’s share of possession so far. Atletico, the more experienced European campaigners, look strangely out of sorts. They can’t string more than a couple of passes together at the moment.
9 min: Diego Costa clatters into Rami, having glanced at the Marseille defender with intent before making the hit. It’s a foul, nothing more, a good old-fashioned clump to let someone know what’s what. But the referee gives him a bollocking anyway, perhaps pointing out that there are limits, and the notoriously cheeky striker would do well to stay within them.
7 min: Atletico launches their first meaningful attack of the match, Correa, and Griezmann combining down the inside-right to half-decent effect. But Marseille holds their line and Atletico can’t break through it. Meanwhile here’s Thomas Jenkins: “I can understand why one would want to give one’s younger self a bit of a slap on the back for choosing Atletico over the big bad Real, but it must be a bit much for fans of Getafe, Rayo, Leganes and the other lesser Madrid teams to hear Torres name a massive club like Atletico the difficult choice. Not to be a meanie, it’s a sweet story. He said, being a meanie.”
6 min: Koke brings down Saar out on the Marseille right. The free kick’s hoicked into the mixer, and only half cleared by an uncharacteristically shaky Atletico. Rami meets the ball, 20 yards out, and sends it whistling wide of the right-hand post. Not far off, and had that been on target, Oblak might have been in a little trouble.
4 min: What a chance for Marseille to take an early lead. Payet and Thauvin play a long-distance one-two in the midfield. The former bursts towards the Atletico box, and slips a pass down the inside-right channel to release Germain into the area! He’s only got Oblak to beat, but leans back and blooters wild, panicky effort miles over the bar. That really should be 1-0 to the French side.
2 min: The smoke is still billowing across the field of play. This is a complete nonsense. Through the 1940s London pea-souper, you can just about see both teams booting long balls up and down the pitch in the 1980s style.
Finally, we’re off! With smoke from the pre-match DJ/dance dis grace play still wafting across the pitch, Marseille boots the ball out of play straight from the kick-off. Atletico deal with the resulting throw, deep in their own half, easily enough..
Marseille had been worried about the fitness of Dimitri Payet. But their captain (and erstwhile West Ham schemer) shrugs off a thigh complaint to make the starting XI. Bouna Sarr also makes the team, despite recently dislocating his shoulder.
Atletico had been hoping to recall Vitolo. But the winger’s hamstring problem sees him miss out on the big match. Diego Costa, once of Chelsea, leads their attack ... though what price another former Blue, Fernando Torres, coming on to score the winner? Torres scored in Chelsea’s 2013 final victory over Benfica, but he’s never won a major prize with his boyhood club. A fairytale in the making, right there.
Marseille: Mandanda, Sarr, Rami, Gustavo, Amavi, Zambo, Sanson, Thauvin, Payet, Ocampos, Germain.
Subs: Pele, Sakai, Kamara, Rolando, Mitroglou, N’Jie, Lopez.
Atletico Madrid: Oblak, Vrsaljko, Gimenez, Godin, Lucas, Correa, Gabi, Saul, Koke, Griezmann, Costa.
Subs: Werner, Filipe Luis, Thomas, Torres, Savic, Juanfran, Gameiro.
Referee: Bjorn Kuipers (Holland).