Europa League: Zenit, RB Leipzig squeak through; Burnley and Basel out

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The final 13 places in the Europa League group stage have been decided as the playoff round is now at an end.

Burnley’s Europa League campaign came to a finish as Sean Dyche‘s men were unable to overcome a first leg deficit, falling to Olympiakos on a 1-1 draw that led to a 4-2 aggregate scoreline. The Clarets put their best foot forward on Thursday, pounding the Greek side with eight shots in the first half, five more than they attempted all of the first leg. Unfortunately, it didn’t lead to anything tangible, and despite each team bagging goals in the final five minutes, it wasn’t enough for Burnley to advance. A visitor was there to watch the action:

Scottish giants Celtic left no doubt as they topped Lithuanian side FK Suduva 3-0 for a 4-1 aggregate decision. Leigh Griffiths, Callum McGregor, and Kristoffer Ajer all ended up on the scoresheet in the win.

Zenit St. Petersburg backed into the group stage despite a 2-1 road loss to Norwegian side Molde, leaning on their 3-1 first leg victory which propelled them to a 4-3 aggregate win. Daler Kuzyayev bagged the deciding goal in the 21st minute, and while Molde produced a spirited comeback, they fell a goal short.

German club RB Leipzig eeked through on a 3-1 win that gave them a 3-2 aggregate victory over Ukranian club Zorya Luhansk, with the winning goal coming on a penalty in the 90th minute. Emil Forsberg delivered the blow from the spot to send them through, overcoming a situation that would have seen them out on away goals following a 1-0 first leg loss in Ukraine.

Steven Gerrard‘s Rangers also barely squeaked through into the group stage after a 1-1 road draw at Russian club FC Ufa that gave them a 2-1 aggregate win. 20-year old Ovie Ejaria scored nine minutes in, but the end was incredibly nervy after Alfredo Morales and former Liverpool youngster Jon Flanagan were both sent off, leaving Rangers two men down for nearly the final half-hour.

Basel was bounced by Cypriot club Apollon Limassol on away goals after a 1-0 road loss in the second leg doomed them to a 3-3 aggregate. The Swiss club’s elimination is notable as it is the first time in a whopping 17 years that Basel has not reached the group stage of either the Champions League or the Europa League.

French side Bordeaux overcame a first-leg 0-0 draw to advance on a 2-0 home win over Belgian club KAA Gent. 22-year-old Francois Kamano scored the eventual decider in just the 10th minute, while Jimmy Briand added the insurance strike from the spot after the hour mark.

Other results (aggregate winner in bold)

Ludogorets Razgrad 4-0 Torpedo Kutaisi
Qarabag 3-0 Sheriff Tiraspol
CFR Cluj-Napoca 2-3 F91 Dudelange
FC Astana 1-0 Apoel Nicosia (penalties)
FC Midtjylland 0-2 Malmo
FC Copenhagen 
0-0 Atalanta (penalties)
Besiktas 3-0 Partizan Belgrade
KF Shkëndija 0-2 Rosenborg
Bronby 2-4 Racing Genk
FC Spartak Trnava 1-1 Olimpija Ljubljana
FCSB 2-1 Rapid Vienna
AEK Larnaca 3-0 AS Trencin
Maccabi Tel Aviv 2-1 Sarpsborg FK