The third return round of European Cups came to a close on Thursday evening. An opportunity for several African players to shine.
Despite a brace from Gabon's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Marseille, beaten 0-1 in the first leg, were eliminated by Greek side Panathinaikos Athens. The French won 2-1, but were eliminated after a penalty shoot-out (3-5). The same fate befell the Czechs of Sparta Prage against the Danes of FC Copenhagen (3-3, 2-4 on penalties, 0-0 in the first leg).
Nigeria's Victor Olatunji scored the Prague outfit's third goal. Libyan Ali Mohamed Al-Musrati, on the other hand, will continue his C1 campaign with Sporting Braga. The Portuguese side comfortably beat Serbian side TSC Backa Topola away from home (4-1, 3-0 first leg), and the Misrata native scored the fourth goal for Os Arcebispos.
Beaten 1-2 by FC Astana in the first leg in Kazakhstan, Bulgaria's Ludogorets Razgrad easily qualified on home soil (5-1), thanks in particular to a brace from Ghanaian Bernard Tekpetey. The Gambian Demba Darboe scored the only goal for the visitors. Qarabag (Azebaïdjan) confirmed their 2-1 first-leg victory with a 2-1 win over HJK Helsinki in Finland.
Algerian Yassine Benzia scored his team's second goal. On the other hand, despite opening the scoring thanks to Ghanaian Joseph Paintsil, RC Genk (Belgium) were eliminated by Greek side Olympiakos Piraeus (1-1, 0-1 first leg).
Europa Conference League
The Vincent Aboubakar (Cameroon)-Jackson Muleka (DR Congo) duo struck again. The two strikers helped Besiktas Istanbul (Turkey) qualify against Neftchi Baku (Azerbaijan) (2-1, 3-1 first leg).
Viktoria Plzen (Czech Republic) won easily in Malta against Gzira United (2-0, 4-0 first leg), with a goal from Ivorian Ibrahim Traoré. Congolese Dieumerci Ndongala gave APOEL Nicosia victory over Dila Gori of Georgia (1-0, 2-0 first leg).
The adventure continues for Slovakia's Spartak Trnava against Poland's Lech Poznan (3-1, 1-2 first leg). Ghanaian Kelvin Ofori opened the scoring for his team. Portugal's Arouca's European season came to an end in Norway against Brann Bergen (1-3, 2-1 first leg). The Lusitanians' only goal came from Guinea's Morlaye Sylla.