December 6, 2012
Marseille to ring the changes
Team Stat Comparison
|Goals for *||1.0||0.7|
|Goals against *||0.3||2.3|
|Last 5 home||W-L-D||L-D-W-D-W|
|Last 5 away||L-L-L||L-L-D-W-D|
|* Goals per match - home matches for home club and away matches for away club|
|Stats: AEL | Marseille|
It will be an unfamiliar Marseille line-up that runs out for their Europa League farewell against AEL Limassol.
Both teams have already been knocked out of the tournament ahead of their final Group C game, with Marseille third in the standings, three points behind Borussia Monchengladbach and with an inferior head-to-head record.
AEL have only one point and are certain to finish bottom of the group, and while they are playing solely for pride OM coach Elie Baup will use the game to cast his eye over several young players.
Andre Ayew is suspended while younger brother Jordan is among a host of senior players who have not travelled for the dead rubber. Goalkeeper Steve Mandanda, defenders Souleymane Diawara and Nicolas N'Koulou, midfielders Benoit Cheyrou and Joey Barton and forward Mathieu Valbuena were also left at home.
That will give the club's youngsters a chance to prove their worth, and defender Baptiste Aloe is keen to seize his opportunity.
The 18-year-old defender said: "Those who play will want to show that we have a good academy, because there are a lot of people who think OM do not produce good players.
"I have not yet played a match, Wesley (Jobello) played a few minutes against Fenerbahce, and there is also Rafi (Abdullah), who has played a lot.''
AEL will be without the suspended Luciano Bebe and the injured trio of Michalis Konstantinou, Gilberto and Monteiro, while Paulo Sergio and Marcos Airosa are doubtful.
Last season's Cypriot champions are keen to finish their debut European campaign on a high, as evidenced by the rallying call to fans posted on the club's official website.
"The board of AEL calls each pure `Aelista' to attend and give massive and strong support to our team as they search for their first victory in the tournament,'' it read.
"Our players, coaches and the entire football team deserve one last warm round of applause for their great European qualification, to reward them for the many beautiful moments they gave us this year.
"Our players have made history this year with their presence for the first time in a European league and they made us all proud. Despite the fact our team has been knocked out of the competition, our goal is to win our last game and collect points for our club, and for Cypriot football.''