Tim Sparv

Europa League roundup: Dortmund win an absolute thriller, Southampton stumble at home

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A roundup of all the day’s action from around Europe as the final round of UEFA Europa League qualifying kicked off on Thursday:

Odds BK 3-4 Borussia Dortmund

As far as pure entertainment value goes, it’s tough to top what Dortmund provide on a weekly basis — whether they’re unbelievably bad (last season), unstoppably good (from 2010 to 2012), or a whole lot of both on the same day (today).

Down 3-0 to Norwegian side Odd Ballklubb after 22 minutes, it looked like the 2014-15 Bundesliga season all over for brand new Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel. And then, “peak Dortmund” happened. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a pair of goals either side of a tally by Shinji Kagawa, tying the game at 3-3 in the 77th minute.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored the late winner for Dortmund in the 85th minute to give BVB not only a victory in their away leg, but four away goals to carry over into the second leg at home next Thursday.

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Southampton 1-1 Midtjylland

Elsewhere on the continent, Premier League side Southampton welcomed reigning Danish champions Midtjylland to St Mary’s Stadium. Unlike what happened with Dortmund, the underdogs were able to hold on for a positive result and give themselves a real chance of going through to the group stage.

Former Southampton academy player Tim Sparv opened the scoring for the visitors in the 45th minute, when the Finnish midfielder struck the ball well and hard from outside the penalty area to beat Saints goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg. Jay Rodriguez equalized for Saints in the 56th minute, when he converted from the penalty spot and bagged his first goal since March 2014 (ruptured ACL).

With the second leg to be played in Denmark next Thursday, Ronald Koeman’s side has much work ahead of them to overturn Midtjylland’s valuable away goal.

Elsewhere in Europa League qualifying action

Zilina 3-2 Athletic Bilbao
Ajax 1-0 Jablonec
Milsami 1-1 Saint-Etienne
Bourdeaux 1-0 Kairat
Atromitos 0-1 Fenerbahce
Dinamo Minks 2-0 Red Bull Salzburg
Gabala FC 0-0 Panathinaikos
Astra Giurgiu 3-2 AZ Alkmaar
FC Zorya 0-1 Legia Warsaw
Molde 2-0 Standard Liege
PAOK 5-0 Brondby
Liberec 1-0 Hajduk Split
Krasnodar 5-1 HJK
Sparta Prague 3-1 Thun
Steaua Bucarest 0-3 Rosenborg
BSC Young Boys 0-1 Qarabag
Rabotnicki 1-1 Rubin Kazan
Altach 0-1 Belenenses
Viktoria Plzen 3-0 Vojvodina
Lech Poznan 3-0 Videoton