Heading into Thursday’s Europa League action, only four sides (Arsenal, Roma, Leicester City, and Hoffenheim) had already ensured progression to the knockout round. With 28 spots still up for grabs going in, here’s a look at what happened on Matchday 5.
Giallorossi academy grad Riccardo Calafiori, 18, opened his Roma account in style with a stunning long-range strike in a 3-1 victory over Young Boys at the Stadio Olimpico. Roma, who had sorted progression after Matchday 4, are now guaranteed to finish first in the group. Despite the loss, Swiss side Young Boys boast a two-point advantage over CFR Cluj for second spot after the Romanians drew 0-0 with CSKA Sofia.
Alexandre Lacazette ended a streak of more than two months without a goal with a bending strike from distance in front of 2,000 fans at the Emirates Stadium as Arsenal secured top spot in the group with a 4-1 win over Rapid Vienna. Molde control their own destiny after dumping Dundalk by a 3-1 scoreline to keep hold of second spot on nine points, three up on Rapid ahead of the Viennese side’s trip to Norway on Matchday 6.
Goals aplenty on the French Riviera as Bayer Leverkusen bested Nice 3-2 thanks to Julian Baumgartlinger’s winner to progress to the Round of 32. On the same day that domestic rivals Sparta were bounced from the competition, Slavia Prague have safeguarded a berth in the next stage via a 3-0 result against Hapoel Beer-Sheva in the Czech capital. Both Leverkusen and Slavia are on 12 points before the two sides meet in the group finale in Germany.
Chalk. Group favorites Rangers and Benfica secured their respective places in the next stage of the competition with high-octane home wins on Thursday. Steven Gerrard’s red-hot side beat Standard Liege 3-2, while the Portuguese outfit easily handled Lech Poznan, 4-0. With both teams tied on 11 points, first place in the group will be decided on Matchday 6.
It appeared for some time like Group E would go down to the final day, but a late goal in Cyprus changed the entire complexion of the quartet. An 84th-minute penalty from Jordi Gomez saw Cypriot club Omonoia upset PAOK. That result, coupled with PSV Eindhoven’s 1-0 win over Granada, was enough to send the Dutch and Spanish sides through to the last 32. Granada are still in pole position to finish first in the group, one point ahead of PSV.
As you were. Napoli, AZ Alkmaar, and Real Sociedad all went into Thursday with a chance to reach the knockout stage, but nobody capitalized. The former pair played out a 1-1 draw in the Netherlands, with Bruno Martins Indi scoring the crucial equalizer for the hosts. La Liga leaders Sociedad, meanwhile, could only muster a 2-2 stalemate against already relegated Rijeka. Napoli currently top the group on 10 points, two ahead of the chasing pair. It’s all to play for next week.
SC Braga are joining fellow Group G side Leicester City in the next phase after the Portuguese outfit eased past AEK Athens 4-2 in the Greek capital. Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester, who had already guaranteed their spot in the knockout round, slumped to a 1-0 defeat at Zorya Luhansk. Braga and Leicester have both notched 10 points through five outings.
Lille and AC Milan have booked their places in the next round courtesy of come-from-behind home victories on Thursday. Burak Yilmaz’s late brace guided Les Dogues to a 2-1 win over Sparta Prague that puts Christophe Galtier’s troops in top spot on 11 points. In Italy, Jens Petter Hauge’s balletic solo goal was the winner as Milan overturned Celtic’s two-goal advantage inside of 15 minutes in an emphatic 4-2 victory.
It wasn’t pretty, but Villarreal have secured a spot in the next round courtesy of a narrow 1-0 victory at Sivasspor that keeps Unai Emery’s Yellow Submarine atop the quartet on 13 points. Second place in the group will come down to the final day between Maccabi Tel-Aviv (8 points) and Sivasspor (6) after the Israeli side claimed a vital point in a 1-1 draw at Qarabag FK.
LASK’s Mamadou Karamoko made the most of his European debut, bagging a stellar 90th-minute equalizer in a spirited 3-3 draw against Tottenham. Spurs, who are on 10 points, will battle for group honors with Royal Antwerp on Dec. 10 in north London after the Belgians cemented their place in the knockout round courtesy of a 3-1 win at Ludogorets. Antwerp now have a dozen points through five matches.
Croatian luminaries Dinamo Zagreb are guaranteed to finish top of Group K thanks to a comprehensive 2-0 victory at Feyenoord that gives Zoran Mamic’s team 11 points through five games. Wolfsberger claimed a vital three points with a 1-0 result at CSKA Moscow to put the Austrian outfit on seven points, two up on Feyenoord before the two sides meet on Matchday 6.
Serbian giants Red Star Belgrade are off to the Round of 32 following a goalless draw with fellow qualifiers Hoffenheim. Elsewhere in Group L, Slovan Liberec dispatched Gent 2-1 behind goals from Kamso Mara and Taras Kacharaba, leaving the Belgians without a point in the quartet with one match to play.