🇪🇺 Brighton, Rangers and West Ham top UEL groups on famous night | OneFootball

🇪🇺 Brighton, Rangers and West Ham top UEL groups on famous night | OneFootball

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Peter Fitzpatrick·14 December 2023

🇪🇺 Brighton, Rangers and West Ham top UEL groups on famous night

Article image:🇪🇺 Brighton, Rangers and West Ham top UEL groups on famous night

The last round of the Europa League group stages is upon us, and there is a lot at stake for numerous sides.

Follow all of the action here.

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Pedro is the man once again as Brighton top the group

Scorers: Pedro 88′

João Pedro was the man once again in the Europa League, grabbing his sixth goal in the competition this season, to seal another famous win late on for Brighton.

Requiring a win to top the group and avoid the knockout round playoffs, Brighton were the more lively in the opening 10 minutes.

After some typically slick play, the ball came to Simon Adingra, who cut in but shot straight at Marseille keeper Pau Lopez.

The French side then came mightily close to scoring, Jonathan Clauss’ strike taking a huge deflection, beating Jason Steele all ends up but hitting the crossbar.

Early into the second half, Brighton nearly had themselves a chance but João Pedro could just not reach Adingra’s cross.

The visitors hit the woodwork for a second time just before the hour, Amine Harit’s shot hitting off the post before bouncing off Steele. Fortunately for the Seagulls, no one was there to follow up and tap home.

Brighton grabbed the goal they needed and it came from their go-to man, João Pedro, who smashed the ball home from close range before leaping into the joyous crowd.

Roberto De Zerbi’s men held out for a famous win, leapfrogging Marseille in the group and can now make plans for the last 16.

More to follow…

Rangers do the improbable and qualify in top spot

Scorers: Miranda 14′, Pérez 37′; Sima 10′, Dessers 20′, Roofe 78′

Rangers earned their first-ever win on Spanish soil and booked their place in the last 16 on one of the great nights in recent club history.

Needing three points to qualify as group winners, Rangers got off to a dream start in Andalucia, getting the opening goal inside 15 minutes.

After some great work from Cyriel Dessers, Abdallah Sima smashed the ball low and hard into the back of the net.

That lead lasted just four minutes, Betis responding in devastating fashion through Juan Miranda, who finished in brilliant fashion.

Rangers retook the lead shortly after, Dessers sitting down Betis defender Marc Roca before putting the ball through the legs of keeper Dantas da Silva.

A stunning game got a fourth goal close to half time, Betis getting back on level terms for a second time. Former Premier League man Ayoze Pérez curled home a beautiful finish after being teed up by Isco.

After a chaotic first half, the second was slower as both sides looked for that fifth and potentially decisive goal.

Rangers got it, Kemar Roofe scrambling the ball home from close range to put the Gers on the brink of a famous, famous win.

With Sparta Prague winning in the other group game, they had to hold and duly did to seal an epic victory.

West Ham make light work of Freiburg to seal last 16 spot

Scorers: Kudus 14′, Álvarez 42′

West Ham cruised to a comfortable win against Freiburg to book their place in the last 16 and, importantly, avoid a playoff, which the Germans now face.

Needing just a draw to top the group, West Ham started the better with Lucas Paquetá coming ever so close to opening the scoring inside the first 10 minutes.

From just inside the box, the Brazilian took a touch and then cracked the ball off the crossbar. Mohammed Kudus’ play in the buildup was also excellent.

The Ghanaian grabbed the opening goal in the 14th minute, finishing from close range after a lovely dinked ball from his ex-Ajax teammate Edson Álvarez.

It was nearly two in the 25th minute but Jarrod Bowen strayed just offside before he slotted home from close range.

The Irons doubled their lead just before the break, Álvarez getting the goal his display deserved. A lovely one-two with Bowen put the Mexican in the perfect position to smash home and put more than one foot of his side’s in the last 16.

West Ham could and probably should have added a third shortly after the break, but Bowen and Kudus could not capitalise on good opportunities.

Freiburg’s attempts at a comeback saw Noah Weishaupt hit the crossbar but little else troubled the Irons backline.

David Moyes’ men top the group and will now be aiming for a second consecutive European trophy come the new year.

Akpom the star as Ajax qualify for the Conference League

Scorers: Akpom 5′, Taylor 20′; Garcia 11′

Fighting for a spot in the Europa Conference League, Ajax came out the stronger, taking the lead inside five minutes through Chuba Akpom, who headed home from a corner after AEK keeper Giorgos Athanasiedis came and got none of the ball.

The lead lasted just six minutes, Levi Garcia grabbing a header of his own from a well crossed Niclas Eliasson free kick.

Ajax regained their lead in the 20th minute, this time Kenneth Taylor ruthlessly finishing after being put through by Jorrel Hato.

Akpom got his second and Ajax’s third of the night in the 56th minute, finishing well even if the AEK keeper again might have done better. The ex-Boro man is really finding his feet in Amsterdam now!

Ajax take third spot and a spot in the Conference League, while for AEK, it is the end of their European season.

Other fixtures…

Earlier on…

A much-rotated Liverpool side stumble in Brussels

Scorers: Amoura 32′, Castro 43′; Quansah 40′

A Liverpool side featuring several youngsters stumbled to a 2-1 loss against a determined Union SG side, who were well worth their victory.

A reasonably slow start to the game saw few chances for either side, although Noah Sadiki saw his strike go just past the post as Union threatened on the break.

Liverpool improved their defence line as a result, meaning the home side continued to find themselves offside in a rather dull opening half hour.

Union took the lead in the 32nd minute, Mohammed Amoura just about beating Caoimhin Kelleher after being slipped in by Gustaf Nilsson. A VAR check followed but this time the Belgians were onside.

The Reds replied soon after, Jarrell Quansah getting his first for the club with a great finish inside the box. The young defender trapped Curtis Jones’ corner before firing home to even things up.

Parity did not last long, just three minutes to be precise. Amoura turned provider, giving the ball to Castro, who like Quansah, controlled the ball before hitting a low drive past Kelleher.

Liverpool did not make much of a fightback in the second half as the game dragged out. You couldn’t blame the Reds for having more than one eye on Sunday’s clash with Manchester United.

The loss mattered little as the Reds finished top of their group and can make plans for the knockout rounds.

A win isn’t enough for Roma to finish top of the group

Scorers: Lukaku 11′, Belotti 32′, Pisilli 90+3′

Roma will find themselves playing in a Europa League knockout round playoff against one of the sides falling out of the Champions League despite an easy win over FC Sheriff.

Needing both a win and for Slavia Prague not to, Roma got off to the perfect start, opening the lead in the 11th minute via the most reliable source – Romelu Lukaku.

The king of the Europa League tapped home from close range after Nicola Zalewski put the ball on a plate for him with a lovely left-sided cross.

It was two just after the hour and, this time Lukaku’s strike partner, Andrea Belotti, being the scorer.

Renato Sanches chipped the ball into Zalewski, who saw his shot tipped into the air by the keeper, who then lost the rebound to Belotti, who headed home.

Roma continued to dominate in the second half, controlling more of the ball and having nearly-all of the goalscoring attempts, and got their third deep into injury time via substitute Niccolo Pisilli.

José Mourinho will now find out on Monday who he will be facing off against in February for a place in the last 16.

Leverkusen’s make it six for six with yet another dominant win

Scorers: Schick 6′, Tapsoba 22′, Ellingsen (OG) 25′, Hložek 60′, 70′

Even with several stars rested, Bayer Leverkusen finalised a perfect group record with a dismantling of Molde.

It took just six minutes for Xabi Alonso’s side to take the lead, Patrik Schick firing home from just outside the box after some neat dribbling got him in position to strike.

Leverkusen doubled their lead in the 22nd minute, Edmond Tapsoba heading home a Jonas Hoffman cross, and it was three just minutes later, as Martin Elligsen turned the ball into his own net. It was all one way traffic.

The second half continued in the same vein, the hosts dominating possession and grabbing their fourth on the hour mark through Adam Hložek, who gave Noah Mbamba’s pass the finish it deserved.

The young Czech striker got his second 10 minutes later with another nice finish. He took his first-team chance and then some!

Molde nabbed a consolation in the 75th minute, Ellingsen assisting Eric Kinsolano who finished smartly inside the box.

The Bundesliga leaders will head into the knockout rounds as one of the favourites to win the whole tournament.


What a night!