Sunday, 11 December 2016

Europa League Matchday Six Review

Ahead of the European winter break in all but one of the elite leagues, the final matchday of the Champions League group stage saw the final spots in the knockout stages confirmed.

A-Fenerbache advanced to the next stage as group winners after narrow 1-0 win over third placed Feyernoord. The crucial strike came on 20 minutes from Sow.

Manchester United join Fenerbache in the next stage after they claimed a 2-0 win over bottom side Zorya Luhansk. Henrikh Mkhitaryan fired the visitors ahead three minutes after half-time before Zlatan Ibrahimovic confirmed the win two minutes from the end of the 90.

B- Apoel Nicosia advanced as group winners after a 2-0 win over Olympiakos who advanced despite the loss. The hosts were gifted the lead on 20 minutes by a Da Costa own goal before De Camargo wrapped up the points with an 83rd minute strike.

Young Boys missed out on qualification via an inferior head-to-head record with Olympiakos but ended on a high with a 3-0 win over FC Astana. The Swiss side opened the scoring three minutes after the hour mark through Frey before two goals in five minutes from Hoarau and Schick wrapped up the win.

C- FK Qabala completed a miserable campaign with a sixth consecutive loss as they went down 2-0 to FSV Mainz 05. The hosts took the lead on 29 minutes with a strike from Hack before De Blasis sealed the points five minutes before the interval.

The battle to secure top spot saw Saint Etienne advance as group winners after a 3-2 win over fellow qualifiers RSC Anderlecht. The Belgians raced into a 2-0 lead with goals from Chipciu and Stanciu in the 21st and 31st minutes.

However, five minute spree after the hour mark saw the visitors draw level with a brace from Soderland. The comeback was completed on 74 minutes as Monnet-Paquet sealed the win.

D- AZ Alkmaar secured a spot in the next stage with a 3-2 win that ended group winners Zenit Saint Petersburg's hopes of a 100% record. The hosts struck an early opener through Rienstra with Haps doubling the advantage just before the interval.  Zenit pulled one back through De Paula just before the hour before Tankovic restored the two goal gap. The last say went to the visitors they were gifted at 3-2 with a Wuytens own goal.

Maccabi Tel-Aviv avoided finishing bottom as they defeated Dundalk 2-1 with the Irish side replacing them as the bottom side in the group. Ben Haim put the hosts ahead with a penalty on 21 minutes before the visitors drew level with an own goal from Dasa. The points were sealed by an effort on 38 minutes from Micha.

E- Roma advanced as group winners and with an unbeaten record after drawing 0-0 with Astra Giurgiu who joined the Italians in the next stage.

Viktoria Plzen won the battle to avoid bottom spot in the group as they edged a 3-2 win over Austria Vienna. An early blow for the hosts saw Hedja dismissed after just 18 minutes with Holzhauser converting the resulting penalty. Rotpuller doubled the lead in the 40th minute before Horava pulled one back just before the interval.  A brace from Duric saw the hosts level on 72 minutes before sealing the win on 84 minutes.

F- Athletico Bilbao kept up their hopes of winning the group as they salvaged a 1-1 draw against Rapid Vienna. The Austrians took the lead in the second half as De Lira struck on 72 minutes but were denied the win by an 84th minute leveller from Teixidor. Bibao would have to wait to win the group with the other game postponed.

Sassuolo and Genk met on Friday afternoon after the original game had been called off due to adverse weather and the Belgians secured top spot in the group with a 2-0 win. They led just before the hour with a strike from Heynen before Trossard confirmed the win ten minutes from the end.

G- Celta Vigo secured a place in the next stage after a 2-0 win over Panathinaikos who ended their campaign without a win. Celta went ahead after just 14 minutes with an opener from Guidetti with the points wrapped up by a 76th minute penalty from Orrellana. 

Ajax advanced as group winners with an unbeaten record after a 1-1 draw with Standard Liege. The visitors led after 27 minutes with an opener from El Ghazi but the win was denied late on by an 84th minute leveller from Raman. 

H- KAA Gent secured a spot in the next stage with a last-gasp 1-0 win over Konyaspor who ended their campaign without a win. The winning goal came in the final minute of the game as Coulibaly struck.

Shakthar Donetsk completed a perfect group stage with a 4-2 win over Sporting Braga. The group winners took the lead with a 22nd minute effort from Kritsov before Taison doubled the lead on 39 minutes. Stojilkovic cut the gap just before the interval but the points were sealed by two goals in four minutes after the hour as Kritsov and Taison struck for a second time. The final say on the scoreline came in the 89th minute as Vukcevic made it 4-2.

I- Red Bull Salzburg ended Schalke 04's hopes of an unbeaten campaign as they claimed a 2-0 win but missed out on advancing due to an inferior record to Krasnodar. The hosts took the lead with a Schlager opener on 22 minutes before Radosevic completed the win late on.

OGC Nice ended their campaign on a high as they secured a 2-1 win over Krasnodar who advanced despite the loss. Smolov put the visitors ahead on 51 minutes before they went down to ten men with the dismissal of Granqvist on the hour. The hosts utilised the man advantage quickly as Bosetti converted a penalty before Le Marchand completed the comeback on 77 minutes.

J- Fiorentina advanced as group winners after a 2-1 win over FK Qarabag. The visitors went ahead with an effort from Vecino on the hour before Dos Santos Silva levelled with a 73rd minute penalty. Chiesa sealed the win for the visitors three minutes later before being sent off six minutes from the end.

PAOK Salonika secured a spot in the next stage with a 2-0 win over Slovan Liberec who finished bottom. Mendes Rodrigues put the hosts ahead on 29 minutes with Pelkas confirming their qualification with a 67th minute effort.

K- Sparta Prague advanced as group winners despite a 2-1 loss to Inter Milan. The Italians went ahead with an effort from Eder on 23 minutes before being pegged back by Marecek's equaliser on 54 minutes. The hosts were not to be denied a win though as Eder struck his second goal and the winner in added time.

The battle to secure a spot in the next stage saw Hapoel Beer Sheva claim success despite being held to a 1-1 draw by Southampton who needed a win to advance. Bar Buzaglo put the visitors ahead on 78 minutes with Virgil van Dijk levelling in added time.

L- Osmanlispor advanced as group winners after a 2-0 win over FC Zurich. The hosts secured the points in the final 20 minutes as Delarge struck a 73rd minute opener before an 89th minute strike from Kilicaslan. 

Villarreal also reached the next stage as they claimed a 2-1 win over Steaua Bucharest. The hosts led early on with a 15th minute effort from Sansone but were pegged back by a leveller from Achim on 55 minutes. Tamas was dismissed for the visitors on 79 minutes before their evening ended in defeat after Munoz struck an 88th minute winner.