Europa Conference League, Europa League, Football

Europa League and Conference League round-up: Lukaku, Loftus-Cheek, Di Maria and Aubameyang on scoresheet

AC Milan defeated Rennes 3-0 in the first leg of their Europa League knockout round play-off, with two goals each from Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

With his two goals, Loftus-Cheek has scored five goals in five games for Milan, who will be well-prepared for next Thursday’s second leg. The third goal for the Italians was added by Rafael Leao, a forward from Portugal.

The clubs that emerge victorious from these matches will play the teams that top their Europa League group in the round of sixteen.

Romelu Lukaku’s goal in the second half gave Roma a 1-1 draw against Feyenoord. After Brazilian winger Igor Paixo gave the home team the lead with a header in first-half added time, he tied the score in the second half.

With six goals thus far in this season’s competition, Lukaku is tied for first place with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Marseille and Joao Pedro of Brighton.

Aubameyang, a former striker for Arsenal and Chelsea, scored his 30th goal in the Europa League on Thursday as Marseille and Shakhtar Donetsk tied 2-2. Because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the game was played in Hamburg.

Just before the hour, Aubameyang’s first goal tied the competition’s record goal return. Four minutes later, Mykola Matvienko tied the score for Shakhtar, who were participating in their first league match in two months.

When Brazilian youth Eguinaldo of Shakhtar tied the score in stoppage time, Marseille had appeared to have won the first leg after Iliman Ndiaye’s goal in the ninetieth minute.

Benfica defeated Toulouse 2-1 thanks to a goal from Angel Di Maria in the 98th minute from the penalty spot. Di Maria gave the French team the lead in the second half, but Mikkel Desler equalised it before the former Real Madrid midfielder sealed the victory.

After both teams were reduced to 10 players, Mauro Icardi scored a late goal for Galatasaray in stoppage time to win 3-2 over Sparta Prague.

Only minutes after Galatasaray defender Victor Nelsson was shown a red card, Jan Kuchta scored for Sparta to make the score 2-2. Matej Ryne, a midfielder for Sparta, was later dismissed for a second yellow.

In other Europa League action, Sporting Lisbon defeated Young Boys 3-1 on the road.

Ajax avoided humiliation in Amsterdam by scoring two goals in stoppage time to overturn a 2-0 deficit and draw 2-2 with Norwegian team Bodo/Glimt in the Europa Conference League play-off round.

Albert Gronbaek’s two goals for the visitors in the span of six minutes were cancelled out by a penalty kick from Branco van den Boomen and a spectacular lob from Steven Berghuis.

Ajax’s remarkable comeback in the last minutes was spurred by Bodo/Glimt’s Odin Luras Bjortuft, who was sent off and gave away a penalty for a foul on Brian Brobbey, a reputed Man Utd target.

Union Saint-Gilloise, the top team in the Belgian division, overcame a two-goal deficit to earn a 2-2 draw at home against Eintracht Frankfurt, even though one of their players was sent red.

The first goal of Sturm Graz’s 4-1 triumph over 10-man Slovan Bratislava came from forward Mika Biereth.

In the Norwegian team’s first competitive match of the year, Molde defeated Legia Warsaw 3-2 thanks to two goals from Fredrik Gulbradsen within the first seven minutes of play.

In the Europa Conference League, Olympiacos defeated Ferencvaros 1-0 in another match.

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