Surprises

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar December 16, 2015 14:02

Surprises

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By Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (December 10th 2015)

Shocked

Borussia Dortmund are one of the favourites to win the competition and seize the Champion’s League spot, but tonight the form book went out of the window. PAOK Salonika had already been eliminated and had to visit Germany. However PAOK pulled off an upset, beating the resurgent Borussia. Not even the prolific Gabonese international Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could find the net as Borussia crashed at home.

Adnan Januzaj, on loan from Manchester United, handled after 33 minutes. PAOK punished the transgression. Ionnas Mystakidis’ through-ball was collected and dispatched into the bottom left-hand corner by Robert Mak. It proved to be the only goal of the match. Ten minutes later Januzaj handled again and received a yellow card. Borussia searched for an equaliser. Aubameyang’s header hit the post after 76 minutes and Joo Ho-park also went close, but the equaliser, let alone winner would not come. That meant that if Krasnodar avoided defeat to Qäbälä, the Russians would top Group C.

Qäbälä held Krasnodar for 25 minutes. Rafael dos Santos’ foul on Pavel Mamaev cost Qäbälä dear. The free-kick resulted in Mauricio Peyrera supplying Ragnar Sigurdssen to head in the opener after 26 minutes. Fourteen minutes Peyrera scored an excellent goal from outside of the area to give Krasnodar a two goal advantage at half time. Charles Kaboré provided him with the opportunity. Qäbälä’s attempts to respond were few and far beween.

After 76 minutes Wanderson made it absolutely safe by scoring Krasnodar’s third. Ricardo Laborde provided him with an easy opportunity to score from close range. There was no doubt that Krasnodar would win. Krasnodar created more chances and Qäbälä went close to securing a consolation through Aleksiy Antonov’s long range effort, but was denied by the keeper.

Strange

Strange things had been happening in Group I. Basel had been the only team to win at home. That augured well for Basel, but not Fiorentina – the Swiss were playing Lech Poznań in Poland, while Florence’s Artemio Franchi Stadium would entertain Belenenses. The Viola knew that a loss would send them crashing out of the Europa League. Paulo Sousa’s team bucked the trend and Basel maintained it – both winning 1-0.

Lech Poznań’s fate was not in the own hands. They required assistance from the other match even if they beat Basel, but the Swiss could ensure that they progressed to the last 32 as Group winners if they secured victory in the former capital of Poland. Five minutes into the second half Taulent Xhaka’s cross was swept in from close range by Jean-Paul Boëtius to give Basel the lead – a lead they did not surrender.

Meanwhile, the Portuguese side Belenenses were beaten 1-0 by Fiorentina. The Viola’s academy developed Khoma Babacar – the youngster scored the winner after being supplied by Joan Verdú midway through the second half. Fiorentina accompanied Basel into the last 32.

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar December 16, 2015 14:02
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