Home » Europa Conference League play-off first leg: Ajax locked in, Sturm scores four | UEFA Europa Conference League

Europa Conference League play-off first leg: Ajax locked in, Sturm scores four | UEFA Europa Conference League

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Europa Conference League play-off first leg: Ajax locked in, Sturm scores four |  UEFA Europa Conference League

Seven of the eight matches had close results and remain completely open after the opening night of the Europa League knockout stage play-offs.

Prognosis: How did you behave?

Ajax 2-2 Bodø/Glimt

Summary: Ajax 2-2 Bodø/Glimt

Captain Steven Berghuis scored the equalizer in stoppage time and Ajax managed a precious draw against the Norwegians. Two accurate shots from Albert Grønbæk put Bodø/Glimt ahead until the end, when everything changed. Branco van den Boomen didn’t waste a penalty after Odin Bjørtuft was sent off for a foul on Brian Brobbey, before Berghuis sparked the Amsterdam men’s celebrations.

Stat: Ajax have not won a UEFA knockout stage game in seven games (D4 L3).

Union SG 2-2 Frankfurt

Summary: Union SG 2-2 Eintracht Frankfurt

Union SG recovered from a two-goal deficit to deny Frankfurt a victory in Brussels. Fares Chaibi and Sasa Kalajdzic scored seven minutes apart, but Mathias Rasmussen reduced the goal before the break. Gustaf Nilsson scored the equalizer before Union’s Charles Vanhoutte was sent off for a second yellow card 12 minutes from time.

Stat: Union SG have only failed to score in one of their last 11 home games in European club competitions.

Betis 0-1 Dinamo Zagreb

Summary: Real Betis 0-1 Dinamo Zagreb

Bruno Petković beat goalkeeper Rui Silva with a penalty in the second half, and allowed the Croatian champions to win in Seville, in a move that punished Betis defender Chadi Riad with handball. Betis came close to equalizing when Willian José’s free-kick bounced off the woodwork.

Olympiacos 1-0 Ferencváros

Resumo: Olympiacos 1-0 Ferencváros

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Ayoub El Kaabi scored the winning goal in the 83rd minute after Rodinei’s cross, meaning José Luis Mendilibar’s debut as Olympiacos coach ended on a high note.

Stat: El Kaabi has scored six goals in Olympiacos’ last five home games in European club competition.

What’s next?

The second leg matches take place a week later, on 22 February. The winners of each round guarantee a place in the round of 16 draw, scheduled for February 23, in which they will not be seeded.

The seeded teams are Aston Villa (ENG), Club Brugge (BEL), Fenerbahçe (TUR), Fiorentina (ITA), LOSC Lille (FRA), Maccabi Tel Aviv (ISR), PAOK (GRE) and Viktoria Plzeň ( CZE).

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Other highlights

Summary: Sturm Graz 4-1 Slovan Bratislava

• Sturm Graz, who successfully reached the group stage of UEFA competitions for the first time, were well on their way to the round of 16 with a resounding 4-1 home victory against Slovan Bratislava.

• Molde were almost stopped by Legia despite taking a comfortable 3-0 lead inside the first 24 minutes, helped by two goals from Fredrik Gulbrandsen. A shot from Josué and a header from Rafał Augustyniak within seven minutes of the second half created some tension towards the end, but the hosts held on for the win.

• Seven of the eight matches ended in a draw or were resolved by a difference of one goal.

What is the UEFA Europa Conference League play-offs?

There are 16 teams involved in the UEFA Europa Conference League knockout stage play-offs: the eight runners-up from the UEFA Europa Conference League group stage and the eight third-placed teams from the UEFA Europa League group stage.

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The qualifiers are played over two legs and will end on Thursday, February 22nd; the away goals rule was abolished. The eight winners advance to the round of 16 draw, on February 23 (where the eight group winners are already); the eight losers of this play-off will say goodbye to the 2023/24 European competitions.

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