The official website for European football

Valbuena and Marseille aglow in Moscow

Published: Wednesday 24 November 2010, 2.30CET
Mathieu Valbuena said "everyone is ecstatic" in the Olympique de Marseille camp after a 3-0 win at FC Spartak Moskva confirmed the French champions' passage to the knockout phase.
by Richard van Poortvliet
from Luzhniki Stadium
Valbuena and Marseille aglow in Moscow
Mathieu Valbuena celebrates breaking the deadlock in Moscow ©Getty Images
Published: Wednesday 24 November 2010, 2.30CET

Valbuena and Marseille aglow in Moscow

Mathieu Valbuena said "everyone is ecstatic" in the Olympique de Marseille camp after a 3-0 win at FC Spartak Moskva confirmed the French champions' passage to the knockout phase.

Since making his France debut six months ago Mathieu Valbuena has gone from strength to strength, and the 26-year-old showed FC Spartak Moskva how dangerous he can be as Olympique de Marseille reached the UEFA Champions League knockout stage with a 3-0 Group F win in Russia.

I thought we played really well, and the most important thing is that we are through to the knockout stage
Mathieu Valbuena
Marseille were the better team by far
Aiden McGeady

He may have been the smallest player on the pitch at just 1.67m, but the attacking midfielder stood head and shoulders above everyone else with an all-action performance, capped by an excellent 18th-minute goal which set Marseille on the road to a victory that repaid with interest a 1-0 Matchday 1 defeat in France.

"I managed to score a very good first goal and that helped us relax," he said. "We pressed for a second and were a bit fortunate to get one, and that helped kill the game off. I thought we played really well, and the most important thing is that we are through to the knockout stage."

Valbuena's opener was reward for a bright start from the visitors, with Spartak oddly subdued given how much was at stake. "We started really well, which was very important, and of course we managed to get an early goal," said Valbuena. "Our coach, Didier Deschamps, told us we had to keep our concentration throughout the match, especially early on, and I think that was a key factor in the victory."

Spartak only made an impact towards the end of the first period, with striker Welliton causing the Ligue 1 titleholders problems with his pace and movement. However, his side's inability to crown their neat approach play with an incisive final pass meant Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda hardly had a save to make.

"Marseille were the better team by far," said Spartak's Irish international winger Aiden McGeady. "We had to win, but found ourselves 1-0 down after 18 minutes. They scored some great goals. They got a bit of luck perhaps with the second, but it was just a bit unfortunate for us that it wasn't our night."

Second-half strikes from Loïc Rémy and Brandão either side of Welliton's dismissal made the points safe for OM. "We stuck to the plan our coach had given to us and scored three goals, which is excellent," concluded Valbuena. "Everyone is ecstatic at the moment."

Last updated: 01/04/11 13.46CET

Related information

Player profiles
Team profiles
Related match
  • SSI Err

http://www.uefa.com/news/newsid=1524233.html#valbuena+marseille+aglow+moscow

UEFA.com features

Kardemir forge on: Europe's men of steel
  • Kardemir forge on: Europe's men of steel
  • Izmailov, Krasnodar 'want to go as far as possible'
  • The Women's U19 finals in photos
  • Serbia aim to take final step
  • Concentration key to Germany progress
  • See the pick of the pictures from matchday three
  • Nemanja Maksimović: Serbia's man of many parts
  • Drogba's greatest UEFA Champions League hits
  • Ireland's semi-final adventure: behind the scenes
  • Israel travails no problem for Peretz
1 of 10
  • © 1998-2014 UEFA. All rights reserved.
  • The UEFA word, the UEFA logo and all marks related to UEFA competitions, are protected by trade marks and/or copyright of UEFA. No use for commercial purposes may be made of such trade marks. Use of UEFA.com signifies your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.