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Live, Europa League: Wolves, Celtic, Rangers one step from group stage

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Wolverhampton Wanderers are 90 minutes away from reaching the UEFA Europa League group stage.

Nuno Espirito Santo‘s team have negotiated two previous qualifying rounds and they lead Torino 3-2 heading into the second leg of their playoff round clash at Molineux on Thursday.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores  ]

Glasgow Celtic and Rangers are both looking good to advance to the group stage too, with Steven Gerrard‘s Rangers hosting Legia Warsaw at Ibrox locked at 0-0 and Neil Lennon’s Celtic taking a 2-0 lead to Swedish side AIK.

Some other big teams are in Europa League playoff action on Thursday, as PSV Eindhoven, Eintracht Frankfurt, Espanyol and Feyenoord all battle to reach the group stage.

Click on the link above to follow all of the action live, while below is the schedule for the Europa League playoff games on Thursday.

We will have you covered on Wolves’ European adventure here on Pro Soccer Talk with reaction and analysis.


Thursday’s Europa League playoff round first legs

Qarabag v. Linfield (2-3)
Riga v. Copenhagen (1-3)
POAK v. Slovan Bratislava (0-1)
AIK v. Celtic  (0-2)
BATE Borisov v. Astana (3-0)
Bnei Yehuda v. Malmo (0-3)
Molde v. Partizan (1-2)
PSV Eindhoven v. Limassol (0-3)
Wolverhampton Wanderers v. Torino (3-2)
Rangers v. Legia Warsaw (0-0)
Eintracht Frankfurt v. Strasbourg (0-1)
Zorya v. Espanyol (1-3)
Hapoel Be’er Sheva v. Feyenoord (0-3)
Vitoria v. Steaua Bucharest (0-0)
Maribor v. Ludogorets (0-0)
Ferencvaros v. FK Suduva (0-0)
Rijeka v. Gent (1-2)
Dudelange v. Avan Academy (1-2)
Antwerp v. AZ Alkmaar (1-1)
Spartak Moscow v. Braga (1-0)
Trabzonspor v. AEK Athens (3-1)

Live, Europa League: Wolves, Celtic, Rangers all in action

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The UEFA Europa League playoff round has arrived and it is crunch time for three British teams hoping to reach the group stage of the competition.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores  ]

Wolverhampton Wanderers have negotiated the second and third qualifying rounds to reach this stage, as the Premier League side have made light work of Crusaders and Pyunik but Nuno Espirito Santo‘s men now have a really tough challenge. They play Serie A side Torino in Turin on Thursday in the first leg, and after Wolves drew against Man United on Monday they’ve had little time to rest.

Scottish giants Glasgow Celtic and Rangers are also in action, with Neil Lennon’s Celtic disappointed to crash out of the Champions League in the qualifying rounds as they now have to dust themselves off and get past Swedish side AIK.

Steven Gerrard and Rangers have had to battle through three rounds of qualifying to get to this stage and they head to Legia Warsaw knowing they will be up against it. The Polish giants finished second in their top-flight last season and Rangers will be relying heavily on top goalscorer Alfredo Morales to come up with the goods once again.

Feyenoord host Hapoel Beer-Sheva, Daniel Sturridge‘s Trabzonspor head to AEK Athens and Northern Irish side Linfield host Qarabag in some of the other intriguing clashes, as the first legs are set to be tight and tense with group stage qualification on the line.

Click on the link above to follow all of the action live, while below is the schedule for the Europa League playoff games on Thursday. We will have you covered on Wolves’ European adventure here on Pro Soccer Talk with reaction and analysis.


Thursday’s Europa League playoff round first legs

Astana 3-0 BATE Borisov
Avan Academy v. Dudelange — 11 a.m. ET
FK Suduva v. Ferencvaros — 1 p.m. ET
Malmo v. Bnei Yehuda — 1 p.m. ET
Feyenoord v. Hapoel Beer-Sheva — 1:30 p.m. ET
Ludogorets v. Maribor — 1:30 p.m. ET
Copenhagen v. Riga — 1:45 p.m. ET

AEK Athens v. Trabzonspor — 2 p.m. ET
Legia Warsaw v. Rangers — 2 p.m. ET
FCSB v. Vitoria — 2:30 p.m. ET
Gent v. Rijeka — 2:30 p.m. ET
PSV Eindhoven v. Apollon Limassol — 2:30 p.m. ET
Strasbourg v. Eintracht Frankfurt — 2:30 p.m. ET
AZ Alkmaar v. Antwerp — 2:30 p.m. ET
Celtic v. AIK — 2:45 p.m. ET
Linfield v. Qarabag — 2:45 p.m. ET
Braga v. Spartak Moscow — 2:45 p.m. ET
Espanyol v. Zorya — 3 p.m. ET
Torino v. Wolves — 3 p.m. ET
Partizan v. Molde — 3 p.m. ET
Slovan Bratislava v. PAOK — 3 p.m. ET

Live, Europa League: Wolves on the prowl

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Wolverhampton Wanderers travel to Crusaders in Northern Ireland on Thursday, and they take a 2-0 lead with them.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores  ]

Nuno Espirito Santo‘s side found it tough to break the Crusaders down in the first leg at Molinuex last week but a first half strike from Diogo Jota and a late clincher from Ruben Vinagre puts them in a decent position.

Wolves head to Belfast knowing it will be a tough environment to play in, but they are the heavy favorites to advance as they’ll play either Czech side Jablonek or Armenia’s Pyunik in the third qualifying round.

Click on the link above to follow all of the action live, while below is the schedule for the later Europa League qualifying games on Thursday with the first leg scores included.

We will have you covered on Wolves’ European adventure here on Pro Soccer Talk with reaction and analysis.


Selected Europa League fixtures

Olimpija NK v. Yeni Malatyaspor (2-2) – 2 p.m. ET
Gzira United v. FK Ventspils (0-4) – 2 p.m. ET
FCSB v. Alashkert (3-0) – 2:30 p.m. ET
Eintracht Frankfurt v. Flora (2-1) – 2:30 p.m. ET
SK Sturm Graz v. Haugesund (0-2) – 2:30 p.m. ET
Linfield v. HB (2-2) – 2:45 p.m. ET
Osijek v. CSKA Sofia (0-1) – 2:45 p.m. ET
Spartak Trnva v. Lokomotiv Plovdiv (0-2) – 2:45 p.m. ET
Aberdeen v. Chikhura Sachkhere (1-1) – 2:45 p.m. ET
Vitoria SC v. Jeunesse Esch (1-0) – 3 p.m. ET
Crusaders v. Wolves (0-2) —  3 p.m. ET
Partizan Belgrade v. Connah’s Quay Nomads (1-0) — 3 p.m. ET
Espanyol v. Stjarnan (4-0) — 3:15 p.m. ET

AC Milan banned from European competitions

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AC Milan have agreed a one-year ban from UEFA competitions due to breaching financial fair play rules.

The Serie A side were due to compete in the group stage of the Europa League during the 2019-20 campaign but they have now been disqualified over failing to address FFP breaches over a three-year period.

Last summer Milan appealed a two-year suspended ban for breaching rules in 2015-17 successfully as they appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) that new ownership would solve the issues. However, UEFA opened up proceedings against Milan in April once again about overspending, and they have now agreed to not play in European competitions next season.

CAS released the following statement on Friday.

“AC Milan is excluded from participating in the UEFA Club Competitions of the sporting season 2019/2020 as a consequence of the breach of its FFP break-even obligations during the 2015/2016/2017 and the 2016/2017/2018 monitoring periods.”

Milan finished fifth in Serie A last season and their place in the Europa League group stage will now go to AS Roma who finished in sixth, while Torino will now play in the Europa League qualifiers after finishing seventh in Italy’s top-flight in 2018-19.

Is this news that damaging to Milan?

No, not really. A club of their size doesn’t have a problem attracting players to join them, even with their recent struggles, and losing the Thursday-Sunday grind of long trips to play in the Europa League may actually help them focus on finishing in the top four of Serie A after a five-season absence in the UEFA Champions League.

New manager Marco Giampaolo will also have more time to work with his players on the training ground each week and overall, it seems like this ban will actually be beneficial for Milan in the long run.

Having a European ban on your record isn’t a great look, but Milan’s new ownership have promised a new stadium, have Ivan Gazidis in charge and the team only narrowly missed out on reaching the Champions League last season. Despite this ban, things are moving in the right direction.

Wolves find out opponents for Europa League campaign

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Wolverhampton Wanderers’ first European game in over 39 years will see them play in the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round draw.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores  

Wolves’ reward for finishing seventh in the Premier League last season is to play either the winner of Crusaders and B36 Torshavn. The former are from Northern Ireland and the latter are from the Faroe Islands.

Baring a huge shock, Wolves will be heading into the third qualifying round, and Nuno Espirito Santo‘s side will then have to play in the knockout round of the Europa League qualifying system as they are still six games away from making the group stage of the competition.

Wolves will use this competition as preseason and if they do end up making the group stage, it is pretty clear they will take their first European campaign since 1980 very seriously and they will be up their with the favorites to win it all.

The first round draw for both the UEFA Champions League and Europa League was made on Tuesday, and the second round for the Europa League has now set up the schedule through early August.

Below is the second qualifying round draw in full, with both the main path and the Champions path games taking place on July 25 and Aug. 1.


Second qualifying round main path – 25 July & 1 August (Seeded teams in bold)

IFK Norrkoping (SWE)/Saint Patrick’s (IRL) v Dinamo Minsk (BLR)/Liepaja (LVA)
Barry Town United (WAL)/Cliftonville (NIR)/Haugesund (NOR) v Sturm Graz (AUT)
Lechia Gdansk (POL) v Inter Turku (FIN)/Brondby (DEN)
Domzale (SVN)/Balzan (MLT) v Malmo (SWE)/Ballymena United (NIR)/NSI Runavik (FRO)
CSKA-Sofia (BUL)/OFK Titograd (MNE) v Osijek (CRO)

Laci (ALB)/Hapoel Beer-Sheva (ISR) v Siroki Brijeg (BIH)/Kairat Almaty (KAZ)
AEK Larnaca (CYP)/Petrocub-Hincesti (MDA) v Levski Sofia (BUL)/MFK Ruzomberok (SVK)
Zeta (MNE)/Fehervar (HUN) v Breidablik (ISL)/Vaduz (LIE)
Molde (NOR)/KR Reykjavík (ISL) v Cukaricki (SRB)/Banants (ARM)
Roma (ITA) v Debrecen (HUN)/Kukesi (ALB)

Arsenal Tula (RUS) v Neftçi (AZE)/Speranta Nisporeni (MDA)
UE Sant Julia (AND)/Europa (GIB)/Legia Warszawa (POL) v Vitebsk (BLR)/KuPS Kuopio (FIN)
Gabala (AZE) v Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO)/SP La Fiorita (SMR)/Engordany (AND)
Aberdeen (SCO)/RoPS Rovaniemi (FIN) v Fola Esch (LUX)/Chikhura Sachkhere (GEO)
Luzern (SUI) v Riteriai (LTU)/KI Klaksvik (FRO)/SP Tre Fiori (SMR)

Espanyol (ESP) v Stjarnan (ISL)/Levadia Tallinn (EST)
Utrecht (NED) v Akademija Pandev (MKD)/HSK Zrinjski (BIH)
Malatyaspor (TUR) v Olimpija Ljubljana (SVN)/Rigas FS (LVA)
Royal Antwerp (BEL) v Viitorul (ROU)
Prishtina (KOS)/St Joseph’s (GIB)/Rangers (SCO) v Cork City (IRL)/Progres Niederkorn (LUX)/Cardiff Met (WAL)

Cracovia Krakow (POL)/Dunajska Streda (SVK) v Atromitos (GRE)
Pyunik (ARM)/Shkupi (MKD) v FK Jablonec (CZE)
Radnicki Nis (SRB)/Flora Tallinn (EST) v Eintracht Frankfurt (GER)
Buducnost Podgorica (MNE)/Narva Trans (EST) v Zorya Luhansk (UKR)
Ventspils (LVA)/Teuta (ALB) v Gzira United (MLT)/Hajduk Split (CRO)

Strasbourg (FRA) v Maccabi Haifa (ISR)/NS Mura (SVN)
Wolverhampton (ENG) v Crusaders (NIR)/B36 Torshavn (FRO)
Mlada Boleslav (CZE)
 v Ordabasy Shymkent (KAZ)/Torpedo Kutaisi (GEO)
Aris Thessaloniki (GRE) v AEL Limassol (CYP)
Brann (NOR)/Shamrock Rovers (IRL) v Kauno Zalgiris (LTU)/Apollon Limassol (CYP)

Jeunesse Esch (LUX)/Tobol Kostanay (KAZ) v Vitória SC (POR)
AZ Alkmaar (NED)
v Hacken (SWE)
Budapest Honved (HUN)/Zalgiris Vilnius (LTU) v Sabail (AZE)/Universitatea Craiova (ROU)
Alashkert (ARM)/Makedonija Skopje (MKD) v FCSB (ROU)/Milsami Orhei (MDA)
Shakhtyor Soligorsk (BLR)/Hibernians (MLT) v Esbjerg (DEN)
Lokomotiv Plovdiv (BUL) v Radnik Bijeljina (BIH)/Spartak Trnava (SVK)
Connah’s Quay (WAL)/Kilmarnock (SCO) v Partizan (SRB)


Second qualifying round Champions Path – 25 July & 1 August (Seeded teams in bold)

Group 1

SP Tre Penne (SMR)/FC Santa Coloma (AND) v Sūduva (LTU)/Crvena zvezda (SRB)
BATE Borisov (BLR)/Piast Gliwice (POL) v Dundalk (IRL)/Riga FC (LVA)
Partizani (ALB)/Qarabag (AZE) v Sheriff Tiraspol (MDA)/Saburtalo (GEO)

Group 2

Ararat Armenia(ARM)/AIK (SWE) v Feronikeli (KOS)/Lincoln Red Imps (GIB)
Valur Reykjavik (ISL)/Maribor (SVN) v Ferencvaros (HUN)/Ludogorets (BUL)
Slovan Bratislava (SVK)/Sutjeska (MNE) v The New Saints (WAL)/Winners of the preliminary round

Group 3

Losing finalist, preliminary round v Astana (KAZ)/CFR Cluj (ROU)
HJK Helsinki (FIN)/HB Torshavn (FRO) v Linfield (NIR)/Rosenborg (NOR)
Nomme Kalju (EST)/Shkendija (MKD) v F91 Dudelange (LUX)/Valletta (MLT)