Milan, Marseille and Roma are the most prominent finalists

February 23, 2024
Milan, Marseille and Roma are the most prominent finalists

Italian Milan qualified for the quarter-finals of the European League (Europa League) in football despite losing 2-3 to its French host Rennes on Thursday, benefiting from its great victory in the first leg 3-0. Meanwhile, Marseille became the only French team to qualify, beating Shakhtar Donetsk of Ukraine 3-1 after a 2-2 draw in the first leg. Italian Roma also qualified for the same round by defeating Dutch Feyenoord on penalties.

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The second leg of the round of sixteen European Football League (Europa League) Exciting matches and an abundance of goals, while all French teams were eliminated from the competition except… Marseille.

And he reached Milan The Italian finished in the final round of the competition despite losing 2-3 to its French host Rennes on Thursday, benefiting from its great 3-0 first-leg victory.

Despite its qualification, the Italian giant continued its defensive suffering after falling to Montsa 2-4 in the 25th round of the league, and was unable to come away with a clean sheet except twice in the last nine matches in all competitions (conceding 16 goals).

This is the second loss in a row for Milan after a series of positive results that included five victories in six matches in all competitions.

Milan, the owner of seven Champions League titles, was drawn into an iron group in the group stage of the main continental competition, finishing third in direct confrontations with French runner-up Paris Saint-Germain, three points behind Germany's Borussia Dortmund.

Benjamin Borrego opened the scoring for Rennes with a powerful shot from the outskirts of the area after a pass from Baptiste Santamaria (11).

Desiree Doue tried to shock the visitors with a second goal quickly, but his shot went over the goal (12).

Serbian Luka Jovic did not delay in responding to equalize the score with a header following a cross from Frenchman Theo Hernandez (22).

French goalkeeper Mike Manian prevented his compatriot Arnaud Kalimuendo from scoring the second for Rennes after blocking a strong shot from inside the area (27).

Rennes' chances of equalizing the score on aggregate increased when Borrego scored again from a penalty kick (54).

But the joy did not last long when Portuguese winger Rafael Leao scored the equalizer after an individual effort, when he launched from the middle of the field and faced off with veteran goalkeeper Steve Mandanda, shooting twice to score the net (58).

The referee awarded a second penalty kick to Rennes after a handball on Jovic, who was sent off against Montsa, and Borrego scored his hat-trick (68).

Moroccan substitute Ibrahim Salah almost scored the fourth, but his shot was blocked by goalkeeper Manian (88), as he did with Kalimundo's shot (89).

Marseille is the only French qualifier

At the Velodrome Stadium, Marseille's new coach Jean-Louis Gasset, who replaced Italian Gennaro Gattuso at the beginning of this week following the recent decline in the team's results, succeeded in his first official match in leading his team to the final 16 by beating Shakhtar Donetsk of Ukraine 3-1. .

The Ukrainian team opened the scoring through Georgi Sudakov from a penalty kick after Jonathan Klaus obstructed Iginaldo inside the area (12).

Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang responded with the equalizer in the 23rd minute, becoming the top scorer in the history of the Europa League since this name was adopted in 2009, with 31 goals (8 with Germany’s Borussia Dortmund, 14 with England’s Arsenal, 2 with Spain’s Barcelona, ​​and 7 with Marseille), one goal ahead. On Colombian Radamel Falcao, according to the European Football Association website.

He also became the top scorer this season with 7 goals, one ahead of the Belgian Romelu Lukaku, the Italian striker from Roma, and the Brazilian Joao Pedro, the English striker from Brighton.

In the second half, Senegalese substitute Ismaila Sarr succeeded in giving the victory and a pass to the final 16 to Marseille 16 minutes before the end of the match, before Geoffrey Kondogbia confirmed his team’s qualification with the third goal, ending the suspense (81).

The first leg in Shakhtar's “home” city of Hamburg ended in a 2-2 draw after Marseille led 2-1 until the last minute.

Exciting matches until extra time

Germany's Freiburg qualified after achieving an exciting victory over its French guest, Lens, 3-2, after trailing 0-2 in the first half, knowing that they tied 0-0 in the first leg.

After the visitors advanced through Portuguese David Pereira da Costa (28) and Eli Wahi (45 + 2), Hungarian Roland Szalai was able to score two goals for Freiburg (67 and 90 + 2), leading it to two additional periods, where Austrian Michael Gregoritsch III added (99).

The big win comes after a series of successive negative results, as Freiburg lost three times and tied twice in their last five matches in all competitions, while Lens fell for the first time since losing to French league leader Paris Saint-Germain on January 14.

The excitement extended to the confrontation between Karabakh, Azerbaijan, and its guest, Braga, Portugal, as the former qualified despite losing 2-3 in an epic match, benefiting from a 4-2 victory in the first leg (6-5 on aggregate).

Braga imposed two additional periods on its host after ending normal time with a 2-0 lead through Roger Fernandez (70) and Spaniard Alvaro Diallo (83), with the hosts playing the match with ten players since the 57th minute after Elvin Kavarkuliev was sent off with a second yellow card.

Despite the numerical deficiency, Brazilian Matheus da Silva scored Kara Prague's first goal (102), but Democratic Republic of the Congo player Simon Panza added the third for Braga (115).

While the two teams were heading to penalty kicks, Nariman Akhundzade snatched a second goal for Karabakh (120 + 2).

Portuguese Benfica, in turn, qualified after a goalless draw with its French host, Toulouse, after beating them in the first leg 2-1.

This is the seventh match in a row in which Benfica has exited without losing in all competitions.

The Czech Republic's Sparta Prague overturned a 3-2 deficit in the first leg against Galatasaray in Turkey to win 4-1 to secure the qualification ticket as well.

Sporting Lisbon of Portugal also booked its ticket to the final 16 by drawing with Swiss Young Boys 1-1 at home after winning the first leg 3-1.

Roma, the Italian club, and Feyenoord, the Netherlands, played extra time after drawing back and forth with the same score, 1-1, before the Italian capital team decided the result in its favor on penalty kicks, 4-2, thanks to the brilliance of its Belgian goalkeeper, Milly Zwelaar, who blocked two Feyenoord attempts.

France 24/AFP

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