EUROPA LEAGUE: Third Round Qualifying Update

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Both St Johnstone and Motherwell’s short participation in Europe for the season came to an end on Thursday night.

Motherwell already 2-0 behind from the 1st leg at Fir Park were effectively placed behind the 8-ball for the match in Russia add to that Motherwell left Ian Vigurs, James McFadden and John Sutton at home would seem to many they had given up the ghost with regards to qualifying.

Motherwell struggled from early on as Ibrahima Balde the man who was a constant threat last week continued in the same manner, crossing for David Tsoraev who headed his effort over the bar. Ex Marseille midfielder Charles Kaboure created a chance when he cut the ball back for the off-balance Anton Sosnin but the attacking player’s volley did not test Gunnar Nielsen in the Steel men’s net.

After weathering that storm Motherwell got some decent possession and launched a few attacks of their own, Francis- Angol got in behind the hosts’ defence but the striker could not get his shot away on goal. Henri Anier was next to trouble Kuban when he unleashed a shot, but the ball came off Brazillian Xandao formerly of Anzhi which almost went into his own net.

Ten minutes into the 2nd half the home side grabbed the lead Roman Bugaev crossed for Stephen McManus to attempt to clear but the Scottish Internationals miss-timed header ended up beyond Nielsen and into the back of his own net, which was a real sore one for them.

Both sides had late penalties missed – Charles Kaboure seen his penalty saved by Nielson after Shaun Hutchinson’s foul on Ibrahima Balde. Motherwell had their chance from the stop when Djibril Cisse handled – Bob McHugh missed the kick and Kerr’s rebound was pushed over by Belenov to end Motherwell’s Euro campaign in disappointment.

Meanwhile in Perth St Johnstone went out in the cruellest way possible losing 3-2 on penalties.

The Saints where made favourites by many to progress, on the 10 minute mark Saints skipper Dave McKay’s free kick from the edge of the area cleared the crossbar in a series of dead ball efforts. The visitor’s first main attack resulted in Roman Begunov heading over from a Roman Vasilyuk corner.

Striker Stevie May was halted by Bushma as he saved the Scotsman’s shot near the 30 minute, David Wotherspoon then crossed for Nigel Hasselbaink to head wide of Bushma’s goal. Hasselbaink came close to opening the scoring but his shot hit the outside of the right-hand upright.

Not long after the break MacLean hit a shot wide, then he had a close-range header go over the Minsk bar. St Johnstone were caught on the hop when Rnic’s shot on the 75th minute swerved passed Alan Mannus to make it 1-0 to the visitors on the night and to level the tie.

Minsk after the goal grew in confidence and pressed hard to get that second goal to take them through. As the 90 minutes was coming to an end another Dave McKay free-kick effort was parried by Bushma, which sent the match into a further 30 minutes.

Aleksandr Sverchinski and Stevie May had chances for their respective sides but neither could put their team in front in the maiden period of extra-time.

Bushma kept the dangerous May out in the second period and Steven MacLean missed a golden opportunity to put the Perth side through missing from three yards out. Penalties would decide this tie.

The penalties got underway as Vasilyuk outfoxed Mannus by sending him the wrong way to give Minsk the lead – Dave McKay missed the first spot kick for the Scottish Premiership side. Andrey Razin scored to put the Belarussians two to the good and their hand was further strengthened when Cregg missed completely. Aleksandr Sverchinskiy made it 3 from 3 for Minsk then Rory Fallon got the Saints off the mark in the shootout. Kibuk had his penalty saved before Gwion- Edwards gave the home side a glimmer of hope. When Kozeka missed his chance it was down to MacLean to keep St Johnstone in the tie but he looked gutted as his effort was saved by Bushma.

Both sides will now concentrate on matters closer to home in league action at the weekend against Aberdeen and Kilmarnock as their ventures into Europe are finished for another season. 

JAMIE CURRIE

ROUND-UP

European debutants FK Kukësi and FC Astra progressed to the play-offs alongside the likes of Rubin Kazan, Sevilla and Udinese after third qualifying round successes.

The team with the lowest ranking in the tournament, Albania’s Kukës lost 1-0 in the Ukraine against Metalurg Donetsk, but the result was not enough for the Ukrainians to overturn a two-goal first-leg defeat.

FK Astra of Romania prevailed 5-3 on aggregate against Trencín, all four goals in the 2-2 second-leg draw coming in the last seven minutes.

Lithuania’s Žalgiris gathered an away-goals victory against Lech Poznań as they made the play-offs for the first time, while Pandurii triumphed 2-1 on the night at Hapoel Tel-Aviv to maintain their unbeaten campaign. Rijeka will also be making their debut in the play-offs after a draw in Slovakia closed out a 3-2 aggregate success against Žilina, while Georgia’s Dila Gori will return to that stage for the second successive season having repeated last week’s 1-0 win against Hajduk Split.

AS Saint-Etienne, Rubin Kazan, Swansea City, Sevilla and Udinese all brought substantial leads, which were never threatened, into their return legs. Sevilla especially posted the best of the night’s results with a resounding 6-1 defeat away to Mladost Podgorica.

Kuban Krasnodar and Estoril Praia wrapped up their first ever games in European competition with 1-0 victories. Standard Liège, Śląsk Wrocław and Stuttgart also advanced, though it was not easy for the latter, who edged through courtesy of away goals after a 0-0 home draw with Botev Plovdiv.

The tournament top scorer so far is Omar Er Rafik’s and his sixth goal of the campaign helped Luxembourg’s FC Differdange 03, who knocked out Eredivisie side FC Utrecht in the last round. They took Tromsø to penalties, but the Norwegian side held their nerve to prevail.

WILL BURNS

FULL RESULTS

THURSDAY 8th AUGUST 2013

Zilina 1-1 Rijeka (2-3 on agg)

FC Astra 2-2 Laugaricio Trencin (5-3 on agg)

Dila Gori 1-0 Hajduk Split (2-0 on agg)

Rubin Kazan 2-0 Randers (4-1 on agg)

Metalurg Donetsk 1-0 Kukesi (1-2 on agg)

Maccabi Haifa 3-0 FK Ventspils (3-0 on agg)

Hapoel Tel Aviv 1-2 Pandurii Targu-Jiu (2-3 on agg)

Lech Poznan 2-1 Zalgiris Vilnius (2-2 on agg – Zalgris win on away goals)

Kuban Krasnodar 1-0 Motherwell (3-0 on agg)

Milsami Orhei 0-3 AS Saint-Etienne (6-0 on agg)

Gefle 0-2 Garabagh Agdam (0-3 on agg)

Hapoel Ramat Gan 0-1 Estoril (0-1 on agg)

Bursaspor 0-3 Vojvodina Novi Sad (2-5 on agg)

Thun 1-0 Häcken (3-1 on agg)

FC Differdange 03 1-0 Tromsø (1-1 on agg – Tromsø win 4-3 on pens)

FC Zurich 1-2 Slovan Liberec (2-4 on agg)

Malmo 0-0 Swansea City (0-4 on agg)

Vitesse Arnhem 1-2 Petrolul Ploiesti (2-3 on agg)

Trabzonspor 0-0 Dinamo Minsk (1-0 on agg)

Stromsgodset IF 1-3 Jablonec (2-5 on agg)

VfB Stuttgart 0-0 Botev Plovdiv (1-1 on agg – Stuttgart win on away goals)

Rapid Vienna 3-1 Asteras Tripolis (4-2 on agg)

Standard Liege 2-1 Xanthi (4-2 on agg)

Mladost 1-6 Sevilla (1-9 on agg)

Red Star Belgrade 0-0 Chernomorets Odessa (1-3 on agg)

Udinese 4-0 Siroki Brijeg (7-1 on agg)

Club Brugge 3-3 Slask Wroclaw (3-4 on agg)

St. Johnstone 0-1 FK Minsk (1-1 on agg – Minsk win 3-2 on pens)

Breidablik 1-0 FK Aktobe (1-1 on agg – Aktobe win 2-1 on pens)

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WorldFootballWeekly.com

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