Ninety-nine percent of the time, this doesn’t work. No matter how many times you try it in practice, no matter how perfect your technique, the 20-yard-first-time-shot-off-a-corner-kick routine almost never comes off. But when it does, it’s the stuff of dreams, and such was the case with a stunning Dimitri Payet volley against PAOK on Thursday.
Marseille beat PAOK 2-1 in the first leg of the Europa Conference League quarterfinals on Thursday at the Stade Vélodrome. Payet sent the home fans into delirium just before halftime with one of the sweetest strikes you will ever see. Enough with the talk, just watch this beauty.
Dimitri Payet Volley vs. PAOK
The phrase “Puskás worthy” is thrown out a bit too often, but if this Payet volley isn’t at least nominated for the award and another boring Liverpool goal wins it, we riot.
More often than not, these types of efforts are either blocked or sail into Row Z. This one was just about perfect, not too dissimilar from the sweetly struck volley by Agustín Urzi in the Copa Sudamericana earlier this week.
Cengiz Ünder supplied the somewhat sub-par cross toward Payet, who may or may not have been expecting the ball to take a bit of an awkward bounce in front of him. Nonetheless, the Frenchman rifled his foot through the ball, sending it straight into the upper 90, still rising as it nestled into the back of the net.
The Payet volley was reminiscent of Thiago’s golazo against Porto in the Champions League group stage last year, but the Marseille man had less time to measure up his effort and a defender in his face.
The goal proved to be the match winner. Gerson opened the scoring following a pinpoint pass from Payet in the 13th minute. Omar El Kaddouri, a Moroccan international, pulled the Greek side one goal back in the 48th minute with a smashing shot after Payet was dispossessed in his own third.
Gerson with some delicious touches and a finish to match!The pass from Dimitri Payet! pic.twitter.com/alGIfgK5j4
— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) April 7, 2022
Gerson was sent off in the closing minutes for a second yellow card, but Marseille held on for the narrow win.
The return leg back in the ancient Greek port city of Thessaloniki will be played on April 14. The winner advances to the semifinals to play either Feyenoord or Slavia Prague on April 28 and May 5 before the final on May 25 in the Albanian capital of Tirana. Feyenoord and Slavia Prague drew 3-3 in the early match on Thursday. The other Europa Conference League matches saw Bodo/Glimt beat AS Roma 2-1 for a second home win over the Italian club this season, while Leicester City drew 0-0 at home to PSV Eindhoven.