(photo: Nicolas Tucat/Getty Images)
It was a good night for Polish attackers in Europe on Thursday, with both Arkadiusz Milik and Piotr Zieliński netting for Olympique Marseille and Napoli respectively.
Midfielder Zieliński was up first, as Napoli travelled to the Camp Nou for their Europa League knock-out round play-off against Barcelona. The 27-year-old put the Italian side ahead in the 29th minute with a thundering finish into the roof of Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s net, after the German stopper had saved his first effort.
Unfortunately, Napoli were pegged back just before the hour mark, with Ferran Torres tucking home a penalty. The game finished one-apiece, and the two sides will meet for the second leg next Thursday.
In the later kick-offs, Arek Milik struck twice to help give Marseille a 3-1 advantage ahead of next week’s Europa Conference League second leg against Qarabag FK.
Milik put the French side ahead in the 41st minute, also needing two bites of the cherry to do so. His header from a corner was blocked on the line, but the striker was well-placed to smash into the net on the rebound.
If there was an element of luck to his first, there definitely wasn’t for his second, only three minutes later. Pape Gueye picked up a stray ball just outside the Qarabag box, and quickly found Milik, who again had been left in a vast, open space. His cool finish – taking his tally to 12 in 11 games – practically put the game beyond any doubt.
Milik was withdrawn in the 68th minute, and his replacement, Dimitri Payet, scored Marseille’s third in stoppage time. Brazilian Kady Malinowski had pulled one back for the Azeri side seven minutes earlier.