Rant at OM


By: Manu Tournoux

Olympique de Marseille is not happy and has made this known to UEFA. The Marseille club contested the appointment of Mr. Kovacs to referee against Villarreal, in the round of 16 second leg of the Europa League.

Since Jean-Louis Gasset took over from Gennaro Gattuso on his bench, Olympique de Marseille has regained color. In full recovery in Ligue 1, the southern club also delivered a choice performance in the Europa League, during a controlled round of 16 first leg against Villarreal (4-0). But when it was time to play the return match against the Spanish club this Thursday (6:45 p.m.), Marseille had a little rant. He doesn’t like the referee appointed for the Villarreal-OM match at all.

Istvan Kovacs, since it is him we are talking about, is a well-known referee for Marseillais since it was he who was on the whistle at the very start of the season, during the first leg lost against Panathinaikos, during the third round Champions League preliminary round. Several of the Romanian’s decisions stuck in the throats of several Olympian players. According to RMCthe management of OM decided to complain about UEFA’s decision to put Mr. Kovacs in this match against Villarreal.

Expected response

Even if they won 4-0 in the first leg, the Marseillais therefore wrote to the body to express their dissatisfaction. The media even explains that for OM, this decision by UEFA is at least a lack of sensitivity, which would almost border on a lack of respect. The head start that Marseille has over Villarreal remains comfortable, but the famous “comeback” experienced by PSG against Barça in 2015 remains in the back of everyone’s minds today. In fact, nothing is decided and Marseille would simply have liked not to have to worry about the referee’s name before their eighth return.

We now have to wait for the return of UEFA. If the European football body should not modify its plans, its arguments are expected from Pablo Longoria and Olympique de Marseille. As for the field, if the Phocéens continue their momentum of recent weeks, the identity of the referee of this match against Villarreal should not prevent them from qualifying for the quarter-finals of the Europa League.

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