Turkish clubs advance to last 32 of Europa League
TRABZON / TRIPOLI, Greece
Trabzonspor's soccer players celebrate their 3-1 win after their Europa League Group L soccer match with Metalist, at Avni Aker Stadium, Nov. 27. AP PhotoTurkey’s Trabzonspor and Beşiktaş each qualified for the round of 32 knockout stage in UEFA Europa League with a match to spare in the group stages following action on Nov. 27.
Trabzonspor defeated Ukraine’s Metalist Kharkiv 3-1 to advance to the next round for the second straight year.
In the match against Ukraine’s Metalist, Algerian defender Essaid Belkalem’s header from a corner kick gave Trabzonspor the lead in the game in 36th minute. Midfielder Mehmet Ekici made the assist.
Metalist should have gone level in the opening minutes of the second half when winger Pavlo Rebenok contrived to blaze over the bar when it seemed easier to score.
The Ukrainians did equalize, however, when Volodymyr Homenyuk found the net in the 68th minute.
In the 77th minute, Trabzonspor defender Carl Medjani got his marching orders for fouling Metalist midfielder Jaja – a former player at the Black Sea Storm – to pick up his second booking.
With three minutes to go, Mehmet scored from outside the box when winger Sefa Yılmaz nodded the ball to him.
Metalist goalkeeper Olexandr Goryainov had the misfortune to be credited with an own goal after Yusuf Erdoğan’s shot rebounded off the post and off his head into the net.
Trabzonspor will hope to have better luck in the draw for the knockout round this year, as they were comprehensively beaten 4-0 on aggregate by Italian giants Juventus last year.
Beşiktaş drew against Greek team Asteras 2-2 in a UEFA Europa League Group C game played in Tripoli. Asteras went close to scoring in the fifth minute as Nicolas Fernandez’s shot hit the woodwork.
Ten minutes later, Beşiktaş took the lead in the game as Senegalese striker Demba Ba smashed a volley without trapping the ball in the box.
In the 61st minute, Besiktas midfielder Olcay Sahan was brought down in the box, producing a spot kick. Gokhan Töre duly scored from the spot, giving the Black and Whites a two-goal cushion.
However, Asteras narrowed the gap when Jeronimo Barrales scored with a header in the 72nd minute. A minute later, Beşiktaş’s Canadian defensive midfielder Atiba Hutchinson was sent off by the referee for dissent.
With seven minutes to go, Asteras equalized with a shot by Tasos Bakasetas that hit Facundo Parra, catching goalkeeper Cenk Gönen on the wrong foot.
In the group’s other match, England’s Tottenham Hotspur defeated Serbia’s Partizan 1-0 in London to take top spot in the group with 11 points.
“Since a draw would be enough, we did not want to wait until the Tottenham game to qualify and got the job done,” Beşiktaş’s Croatian coach Slaven Bilic said after the game. “After going two goals up, we relaxed too soon and had to weather some late pressure from our hosts. Nevertheless, I am satisfied with our performance.”