West Ham, Brighton Advance In The Europa League. Atalanta Makes Round Of 16 – News18

Last Updated: December 01, 2023, 03:30 IST

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Tomáš Souček struck late again to help West Ham beat TSC Bačka Topola 1-0 and advance to the knockout stage of the Europa League on Thursday.

Tomáš Souček struck late again to help West Ham beat TSC Bačka Topola 1-0 and advance to the knockout stage of the Europa League on Thursday.

The midfielder met Maxwel Cornet’s cross at the far post to volley home the winner in the 89th minute in Serbia.

Souček, who has scored in five straight games, had snatched a 2-1 victory for West Ham against Burnley with a stoppage-time winner Saturday in the Premier League.

West Ham is tied atop Group A with Germany’s Freiburg, which routed Olympiacos 5-0. Michael Gregoritsch had a hat trick by the 36th minute. Kiliann Sildillia and Ritsu Doan also socred. The winners both have 12 points.

The Hammers need only a point against Freiburg on Dec. 14 in London to win the group and avoid a two-legged playoff in February.

Brighton advanced from Group B after João Pedro converted from the spot for a 1-0 win over 10-man AEK in Athens.

Pedro was fouled in the box before sending goalkeeper Cican Stankovic the wrong way for his fifth goal of the campaign. The hosts lost midfielder Mijat Gaćinović to a second yellow card in the 65th minute.

Brighton took a provisional group lead with 10 points with a game to go, leading Marseille — which hosts Ajax later Thursday — by two points. AEK remains on four points in third.

The eight group winners in Europe’s second-tier competition earn a direct place in the last 16 of the competition whereas finishing in second only gets a team a playoff against the clubs who drop into the Europa League as third-place finishers in Champions League groups.

Atalanta advanced directly to the round of 16 despite 1-1 draw at home with Sporting Lisbon. Sporting substitute Marcus answered Gianluca Scamacca’s opening goal. Atalanta won Group D with 11 points. Sporting is second with eight.

In Group C, Lukáš Haraslín’s second-half curling shot from the edge of the area led Sparta past Real Betis 1-0 in Prague to keep the Czech team’s home for a top-two finish alive.

Maccabi Haifa remained winless in last place in Group F after a 3-0 loss to Rennes in a game played at the Puskas Arena in Budapest because Israel is not allowed to host UEFA-sanctioned matches due to the war with Hamas.

EUROPA CONFERENCE LEAGUE

Viktoria Plzeň remains the only team so far to be guaranteed first place in its group in the third-tier league. The Czechs won 1-0 at Ballkani to make it five wins from five in Group C.

Club Brugge thumped Besiktas 5-0 in Turkey to lead Group D with 13 points. Bodo/Glimt trails by three after a 5-2 win over Lugano.

A first-place finish earns a direct spot in the last 16, while finishing in second takes clubs into a playoff with third-place finishers in the Europa League.

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AP soccer: apnews.com/hub/soccer

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – Associated Press)