Marseille coach Rudi Garcia reflected on a “huge night” after his side overturned a 1-0 first-leg deficit against RB Leipzig to reach the Europa League semi-finals.
The visitors looked to have put the tie to bed when Bruma netted a vital away goal within two minutes at the Orange Velodrome, but Stefan Ilsanker’s own goal and a Bouna Sarr strike got the hosts in front in a whirlwind start and Florian Thauvin made it 3-1 before half-time.
Jean-Kevin Augustin briefly got Leipzig back in the box seat, but Dimitri Payet’s excellent curling effort on the hour mark got Marseille back in front and birthday boy Hiroki Sakai rounded off the scoring in stoppage time to complete a memorable 5-3 aggregate win.
Garcia told beIN Sports: “There was joy on the field. We communicated with our audience, it was huge night at the Velodrome. We were 1-0 behind and this team showed that we have attacking talent. We knew we had to score three goals against them.
“We went for the victory with a fourth and a fifth goal on Hiroki Sakai’s birthday. We are happy, it’s happiness.
“We’ll see what team fate delivers (in Friday’s draw) and do everything to go to the final.
“We are proud to have reached the semi-finals, and with two young players, Boubacar Kamara (18) and Maxime Lopez (20). They were huge, like the rest of the team.
“Payet? We had two of our best players, Flo (Thauvin) scored, Dimitri was the playmaker… he shone while playing and scoring, he set up the goal for Flo. He also (set up) the equaliser.
“To win 5-2 in the quarter-finals of the Europa League, the team must be on top. Everyone has been, and Dimitri has been a good leader.”
Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhuttl, who started with captain Willi Orban, Timo Werner and Emil Forsberg on the bench for the second leg, had few complaints about the outcome.
“You have to swallow it, if you give away such a good starting position so lightly,” he said, quoted on the German club’s website.
“If you make such mistakes as we did today, you will not get on at European level. Although we tried to take on the fight, we too often made it too easy for Marseille. It was a very interesting first international season for us and we can take a lot with us.”
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