On Thursday, December 13th, the last round of the group stage was played in the Europa League. Teams competed in 24 different matches across Europe. Several Nigerian players and those of Nigerian descent played for their respective teams.
Standard Liege travelled to the bottom in the table of Group J Akhisar Belediye to try and win by enough goals to maybe finish second in the group, in case Krasnodar had lost. They did, but unfortunately Standard were held to a goalless draw and stayed third, which means that they are out of the competition. Uche Henry Agbo, the Nigerian defender, started the game for Standard but was substituted in the 60th minute.
PAOK Salonika hosted Bate Borisov at the Toumba Stadium, in a match which the Belarusian team needed to win to be sure of advancing to the knockout phase of the competition. Bate finished the job in the first half with three goals. Maksim Skavysh scored the first one in the 18th minute, while Nikolay Signevich scored twice in the space of four minutes, in the 42nd and the 46thminute of the first half.
PAOK made a couple of changes at the start of the second half, with Amr Warda coming in straight from the restart and Chuba Akpom, an English attacker with Nigerian roots, 10 minutes in. The home team did manage to pull a goal back in the 59th minute through Aleksander Prijovic but couldn’t change the outcome of the match. The visitors took the whole three points and finished second in Group L with Vidi battling for a draw against Chelsea. PAOK finished the competition last in the group.
The Bulgarian team Ludogorets welcomed FC Zurich in Sofia, with the home side already out of contention for the knockout phase. Stephen Odey, the Nigerian forward, started the match for the Suisse team and scored the opening goal of the game in the 21st minute.
However, this wasn’t enough to win FC Zurich the match, as Ludogorets equalized in the last seconds of the first half through Jakub Swierczok. The Bulgarian team are out while FC Zurich finish second are through to the next phase of the competition.
Bordeaux travelled to Denmark to play FC Copenhagen, hoping that Slavia Prague would lose against Zenit and give them a chance of advancing out of the group stage. The French side did win the game with a single effort from Jimmy Briand, but so did the Czech team, which meant that Bordeaux were out of the competition. Samuel Kalu, the Super Eagles midfielder, sat on the bench for the length of the match.
Samuel Adegbenro played the full 90 minutes for Rosenborg as they drew with RB Leipzig, with both teams crashing out of the Europa League. Tore Reginiussen scored late in the game for the Norwegians, to give them their single point out of six games played.