Europa League: AC Milan, Roma, Marseille, Benfica advance to round of 16 | Football News - Hindustan Times
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Europa League: AC Milan, Roma, Marseille, Benfica advance to round of 16

AP |
Feb 23, 2024 07:53 AM IST

AC Milan defeated Rennes 5-3 on aggregate to advance to the Europa League round of 16.

AC Milan advanced to the round of 16 in the Europa League despite a 3-2 loss at Rennes in the second leg of their playoff on Thursday. Milan, which won 3-0 at the San Siro last week, eliminated its French opponent on a 5-3 aggregate score.

AC Milan players applaud fans.(REUTERS)
AC Milan players applaud fans.(REUTERS)

The Italian powerhouse, a seven-time European champion, has never won the second-tier Europa League or its predecessor, the UEFA Cup. Midfielder Benjamin Bourigeaud’s hat trick put the hosts up three times with Milan quickly answering twice.

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Bourigeaud netted the opener in the 11th minute with a fierce right-footed shot from over 20 meters to beat goalkeeper Mike Maignan. Forward Luka Jović canceled it out 10 minutes later with a header off a cross by captain Theo Hernández.

Bourigeaud made it 2-1 early in the second from the penalty spot but Rafael Leão equalized after four minutes on a fine solo effort. Bourigeaud sent Maignan the wrong way with another spot kick to make it 3-2.

The eight runners-up in the Europa League group stage played the eight third-place teams from the Champions League group stage in the playoffs.

The eight winners will take on the Europa League’s group winners, who qualified directly for the round of 16. They are Liverpool, West Ham and Brighton from the Premier League, as well Leverkusen, Atalanta, Villarreal, Rangers and Slavia Prague. The draw is scheduled for Friday.

Nicola Zalewski converted the decisive spot kick for Roma to prevail 4-2 in a penalty shootout over Feyenoord to qualify for the next round. Early in the game, captain Lorenzo Pellegrini found the net from the edge of the area to tie it a 1-1 after Santiago Giménez’s fifth-minute header gave the Dutch team a 1-0 lead and silenced more than 67,000 fans at Stadio Olimpico. The teams also drew 1-1 in the opening leg in Rotterdam.

Marseille’s new coach Jean-Louis Gasset made a victorious debut after he was appointed Tuesday to replace Gennaro Gattuso.

Geoffrey Kondogbia and substitute Ismaïla Sarr sealed a 3-1 win for Marseille over Shakhtar Donetsk with a goal each in the second half. Marseille advanced on a 5-3 aggregate score.

Earlier, Marseille striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netted his 31st career goal in the Europa League to break the competition record and level the tie after Georgiy Sudakov converted from the spot.

Sporting was held 1-1 at home by Young Boys but advanced 4-2 overall.

Two-time European champion Benfica held host Toulouse 0-0 to progress 2-1 on aggregate.

Michael Gregoritsch completed a 3-2 comeback victory for Freiburg over Lens nine minutes into extra time to send the Bundesliga team to the next round.

Indrit Tuci and forwards Lukáš Haraslín and Jan Kuchta scored in the second half as Sparta upset 10-man Galatasaray 4-1 in Prague and qualified for the next phase 6-4 on aggregate. Their goals came after Kaan Ayhan received a straight red card in the 68th minute.

At Baku, Nariman Akhunndzade scored in stoppage time of the three-goal extra time to give 10-man Qarabag a spot in the round of 16 in a European competition for the first time at the expense of Braga with a 6-5 aggregate victory.

EUROPA CONFERENCE LEAGUE

In the third-tier competition, Takuro Kaneko’s second-half equalizer salvaged a 1-1 draw for Dinamo Zagreb and secured a spot in the next round at the expense of Real Betis after the Croatian team upset the Spanish favorite 1-0 in the opening leg in Sevilla.

Belgium’s league leader Union Saint-Gilloise won at Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1 to advance 4-3 on aggregate. Molde cruised past Legia 6-2 on aggregate after a 3-0 win in Warsaw. So did Sturm Graz with a 1-0 victory at Bratislava over Slovan for a 5-1 aggregate win.

Olympiacos beat Ferencvaros 1-0 for the second straight week to reach the last 16. Servette's lone goal at Ludogorets was enough to advance after a 0-0 draw in the first leg.

Substitute Kenneth Taylor scored the winner in the 114th minute of extra time for Ajax to defeat host Bodø/Glimt 2-1 and knock out the Norwegian team 4-3 on aggregate with both teams reduced to 10. In Wednesday's game, Maccabi Haifa drew 1-1 at Gent to advance.

The competition’s playoffs features the runner-up teams from the group stage facing the third-place finishers in the Europa League group stage. The eight group winners, including Aston Villa and last year's runner-up Fiorentina, have advanced to the last 16.

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