Fenerbahçe takes on Atromitos for Europa
DHA PhotoTurkish football heavyweight and last year’s league title runner-up Fenerbahçe will host Greek rival Atromitos Aug. 27 in the UEFA Europa League play-offs second leg game in Istanbul, with the advantage of a 1-0 win away in the first game.
Fenerbahçe’s Dutch star forward Robin van Persie broke the deadlock with a header in the last minute of regular time in the first match at Greek side’s Peristeri Stadium, sealing the victory for the Yellow Canaries.
This score gives Fenerbahçe a sizable advantage to qualify for the group stage ahead of the game at Fenerbahçe’s home ground, Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium in Istanbul.
Spain’s Athletic Bilbao needs to turn around a first leg home loss in the Aug. 27 Europa League play-off second leg action to book their spot in the group stage with Borussia Dortmund, Southampton and Ajax also looking to advance.
In Bilbao, Athletic will be bidding to turn around a 3-2 loss at Slovak side MSK Zilina where the beaten 2012 finalists threw away a two-goal lead. Athletic were 2-0 up at half-time thanks to goals by Sabin Merino and Kike Sola. But Jakub Paur pulled a goal back for Zilina before Brazilian forward William, on as a substitute, equalized in the 77th minute and then netted the winning goal four minutes into stoppage time.
In Germany, Borussia Dortmund look to continue their dream start to the season under new coach Thomas Tuchel and build on their remarkable 4-3 comeback win from three goals down after 22 minutes away to Norwegian side Odd.
At Herning, Southampton has work to do if they want to join Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool and make it three English clubs in the group stage after being held 1-1 by Danish champions Midtjylland at St Mary’s last week. Jay Rodriguez’s penalty gave Ronald Koeman’s men a lifeline and they will need to score in Denmark.
Dutch giants Ajax travels to Czech minnows Jablonec with all still to play for. Frank de Boer’s side failed to build on a penalty scored nine minutes into the second half when Arkadiusz Milik converted after Vit Benes’s foul on Davy Klaassen in the box but Jaroslav Silhavy’s side threatened in the later stages. Romanian champions Steaua Bucharest have an uphill battle at Swedish club Rosenborg who look set to advance after three late goals from Tobias Mikkelsen, Pal Andr Helland and captain Mike Jensen in a 3-0 victory, which leaves the Trondheim side with one foot in the group stage ahead of their home fixture.
French clubs Bordeaux and Saint-Etienne are both still bidding to join Marseille in the group stage. Bordeaux face the longest journey in the competition as they carry a 1-0 advantage to Kazakh side Kairat Almaty thanks to a first half goal from Tunisian striker Wahbi Khazri in western France. Ten-man St-Etienne earned a valuable away goal in a 1-1 draw at Milsami Orhei and will welcome the Moldovans.