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Europa League Playoffs: Milan 3×0 Rennes


In the fight for a spot in the Round of 16, the Europa League playoffs kicked off on Thursday, with Milan comfortably defeating Rennes.

The playoffs pit the third-placed teams from the Champions League groups against the second-placed teams from the Europa League.

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Milan 3-0 Rennes

Playing in front of their home crowd, Milan took a significant step towards securing their place in the Europa League Round of 16, asserting dominance and winning 3-0 against Rennes at the San Siro.

In the 6th minute, Kjær delivered a beautiful through ball, Rafael Leão evaded the defense, entered the box, and hit the crossbar.

In the 7th minute, Rafael Leão nodded it down, Reijnders took a first-time shot but sent it over the bar.

At the 9th minute, Loftus-Cheek got past the defense on the right flank and crossed to Musah, whose shot was blocked, narrowly missing the goal.

At the 23rd minute, Bourigeaud placed a shot from inside the box, posing a threat to Maignan’s goal.

Milan opened the scoring at the 31st minute. Florenzi crossed, and Loftus-Cheek found himself unmarked to head it into the corner.

Jogadores do Milan comemoram gol de Loftus-Cheek contra o Rennes

Photo: REUTERS/Claudia Greco

The lead was doubled two minutes into the second half, again by Loftus-Cheek. After a corner kick, Kjær flicked it on at the near post, the goalkeeper saved, and the Englishman was there to slot home the rebound, marking Milan’s second goal.

Loftus-Cheek balançou as redes duas vezes na vitória do Milan sobre o Rennes, no San Siro

Photo: AFP

Rafael Leão sealed the deal at the 7th minute with a beautiful goal. The Portuguese forward exchanged passes with Theo Hernández, received a backheel pass, and fired it first-time. It was 3-0 for Milan against Rennes.

Imagem ilustrativa da notícia Milan vence Rennes e fica perto das oitavas da Europa League

Photo: AC Milan

The Rossoneri nearly made it 4-0 at the 27th minute. Pulišić made a brilliant individual play and shot, Mandanda made the save, and Okafor had an open goal on the rebound, but the defense cleared it off the line.

With the victory, Milan can afford to lose by up to 2 goals in the next week’s match at Roazhon Park and still secure a spot in the Europa League Round of 16.

Galatasaray 3-2 Sparta Prague

Galatasaray defeated Sparta Prague at RAMS Park. Demirbay opened the scoring, Ángelo Preciado equalized, and Mertens put the Turks ahead. Kuchta leveled the score again, and ultimately, Icardi secured the victory for Galatasaray in injury time.

Shakhtar Donetsk 2-2 Olympique

In a match with two goals in injury time, Shakhtar Donetsk and Olympique drew 2-2. Matviyenko opened the scoring for the Ukrainians, Aubameyang and Ndiaye turned it around for the French, and Eguinaldo equalized at the death.

Feyenoord 1-1 Roma

Feyenoord and Roma drew with goals from Igor Paixão and Lukaku.

Young Boys 1-3 Sporting

Sporting achieved a great result in Switzerland, winning with goals from Amenda, Gyökeres, and Gonçalo Inácio. Ugrinic scored for Young Boys.

Braga 2-4 Qarabag

Qarabag secured a surprising victory away from home against Braga, taking a big lead in the tie. Jankovic opened the scoring from the penalty spot, Simon Banza equalized for the Portuguese.

In the second half, the Azerbaijanis went up 4-1, with 2 goals from Zoubir and 1 from Juninho Vieira. In injury time, João Moutinho pulled one back from the penalty spot.

Benfica 2-1 Toulouse

At the Estádio da Luz, Benfica defeated Toulouse in the last minute. Di María opened the scoring, Desler equalized, and in the 53rd minute, Di María scored again.

Lens 0-0 Freiburg

Lens and Freiburg played out a goalless draw at Félix-Bollaert Stadium.

Europa League

The second leg matches will take place next week, on February 22. The teams advancing from the playoffs will face the group winners from the Europa League, who are already guaranteed a spot in the Round of 16.

Teams qualified for the Europa League Round of 16:

  • West Ham (group A winner)
  • Brighton (group B winner)
  • Rangers (group C winner)
  • Atalanta (group D winner)
  • Liverpool (group E winner)
  • Villarreal (group F winner)
  • Slavia Prague (group G winner)
  • Bayer Leverkusen (group H winner)


Written by Henry Miller.

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