PAOK-OM: What does the boiling atmosphere of La Tumba look like as you await Marseille?

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OM players can expect an extremely hot environment against PAOK Salonika in the second leg of the Conference League Quarter Finals this Thursday (9 PM). Toumba Stadium, already considered quite hot, is about to boil even more after the events of the first leg.

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For the past week, photos of smoke bombs being detonated around the grounds have been doing the rounds on social networks. With a similar caption: “Marseilles, this is what awaits you”. OM players will develop in a heated atmosphere, in the quarter-finals of the second leg of the Conference League at PAOK Salonika’s ground this Thursday (9 pm). This will be further aggravated by the circumstances of the first leg, with several clashes on the streets of Marseille and then at the stadium.

The words of PAOK coach Rajwan Lucescu fueled the fire. “I hope your supporters are as received as we have received, it is a shame for football and your Marseille city, they launched as a threat. There is too much violence in the world today, its no No need to get them into football. Your fans better not come to us!” It has been heard: Faced with enormous risks of violence, Greek authorities have banned the movement of 500 Marseille residents who planned to visit Tumba.

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This context was not needed for the stadium to boil. This is already in nature. The stakes (a possible first European semi-final in the club’s history) would also play out to the enthusiasm of 28,000 spectators, who were called upon by the group of Ultron to sing as one person, Gate 4 is very special, explains L in PAOK. Equipped with former goalkeeper Charles Itandje, who played two years for (2013–2015). You feel adversity all the time. In the hotel before the match, around the stadium when the bus arrives, everywhere.

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Oscar Garcia targeted by a projectile in 2018

Opponents are also obviously abused. “When I went there with Olympiacos four years ago, our coach Oscar Garcia had a head injury when he was going to sit on the bench at the entrance of the pitch and the match was not played, because he was the KO”. The former Marseillas in La Provence remembers Alexis Romeo.

Oscar Garcia targeted by a projectile in 2018
Oscar Garcia targeted by a projectile in 2018 © AFP

“This match against PAOK was special,” recalled Garcia, currently on the Reims bench, last September at So Foot. We were fighting straight for the title and his supporters decided to fight with us. From the kick-off There were skirmishes before. I was. I went to my bench and got a roll of receipts all over my face. My lips cracked. People thought it was toilet paper, but I assure you that the hurt I had suffered Judging it was not so. We would say yeh cheez hai aisa hota hai! (Laughs.)”

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A big ambience but not a cauldron

On Wednesday, Steve Mandanda admitted that he was preparing for a hostile reception at the dilapidated stadium with rusty panels, which emit loud songs with nationalist allusions. And the sometimes violent climate, especially with those rivals that of Eris Salonica, the Downtown Club (PAOK is more eccentric), or of Olympiakos. The rivalry turned horror last February with the death of an Aris supporter who was stabbed to death.

The absence of Marseille supporters would save from a tragedy. On the ground, Marseille’s ears would resonate until the mystery was quickly extinguished by widening the advantage after the small success of the first leg (2-1). “It’s an open stadium, not like Galatasaray, where you really have a cauldron effect,” concludes Ricardo Fatti, former Aris Salonica player in 20 minutes. The atmosphere is impressive, there’s a nice atmosphere, but it’s not the biggest. On the other hand, when we won there in 2010, the first win in 10 years, we had to stay in the locker room for two hours because the fans didn’t want to let us out.” Marseilles are hoping for a favorable result but a brisk start.

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