Heading into Thursday’s Europa League action, only four sides (Arsenal, Roma, Leicester City, and Hoffenheim) had already ensured progression to the knockout round following four matches. With 28 spots still up for grabs going in, here’s a look at what happened on Matchday 5.
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 scoreless 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.