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Marseille loses to Benfica 2-1 while Atalanta crushes Liverpool 3-0

Benfica's Angel Di Maria in action with Olympique de Marseille's Quentin Merlin.

Rafa Silva and veteran forward Angel Di Maria scored in each half for Benfica to beat Marseille 2-1 on Thursday, April 11, in an encounter of two former European champions. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang pulled one back for Marseille, which lost its fifth straight game in all competitions. However, that goal will be important ahead and gives Marseille hope for the return leg in a week. Aubameyang has 24 goals this season in total. He is also the Europa League’s all-time top scorer and has 10 goals in 10 games in the competition this season.

Meanwhile, in England, Gianluca Scamacca struck twice as visiting Atalanta upset Liverpool 3-0 in the first leg of the Europa League quarterfinals. The loss damages Liverpool’s hopes of a treble of trophies in manager Jurgen Klopp’s final season at Anfield.

The Italian visitors went into the break up 1-0 after Scamacca got a low drive past goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher in the 38th minute. Klopp sent on Mohamed Salah, Dominik Szoboszlai and Andy Robertson as substitutes for the second half, but Scamacca netted again after Charles De Ketelaere fed him at the far post on the hour mark. Mario Pasalic finished the scoring seven minutes from time.

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah looks dejected after Atalanta's Mario Pasalic scores their third goal.

The lackluster display on Thursday might turn out to be Klopp’s final European game at Anfield. The team needs a big comeback in Bergamo to stay alive. If Liverpool reaches the Europa League final in Dublin on May 22, it would be Klopp’s final game in charge after nearly nine years.

Bayer Leverkusen got late goals from substitutes Jonas Hofmann and Victor Boniface to top West Ham 2-0 and extend its unbeaten streak to 42 games in a season that can also end up with a treble of trophies. Hofmann netted on a rebound in the 83rd before Boniface clinched a well-deserved victory with a header in stoppage time.

In an all-Italian matchup, Gianluca Mancini headed in a winner off a corner kick from Paulo Dybala to upset AC Milan 1-0 at San Siro. Mancini also scored the lone goal in the Italian capital derby against Lazio on Saturday in Serie A. It was the first win for Roma over Milan since October 2019.

Milan, the seven-time European champion, has never won the second-tier Europa League or its predecessor, the UEFA Cup. Milan has never even reached the final – something Roma achieved twice, losing both in 1991 and last year.

The second-leg games will be played next week.

Le Monde with AP

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