Ajax cruise and Aberdeen battle back in Europa League

Ajax cruise and Aberdeen battle back in Europa League

August 24, 2023 at 9:35 PM
Union SG celebrate a European victory  over Lugano
Union SG celebrate a European victory over Lugano. Photo: LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ / BELGA/AFP
Source: AFP

Four-time European champions Ajax cruised to a 4-1 victory in Bulgaria in Europa League qualifying on Thursday while Aberdeen returned to the scene of their European triumph and fought back for a draw.

For their Europa League play-off round first leg, Aberdeen went to Gothenburg, where they beat Real Madrid in the Cup Winners Cup final in 1983, and salvaged a 2-2 draw as Swedish champions FC Hacken imploded in the last 15 minutes.

A penalty from Ibrahim Sadiq put the hosts two goals up after 69 minutes.

Bojan Miovski turned his defender and fired home after 75 minutes. The North Macedonian then set up Nicky Devlin, bursting in the box, for the right back's first Aberdeen goal four minutes later.

Hacken's Johan Hammar earned a second yellow card for blocking Miovski in the 90th minute. Aberdeen then went close twice and a had a strike ruled out for offside in added time.

Ghana international Mohammed Kudus scored a hat-trick as Ajax won 4-1 away to Ludogorets in Bulgaria. Brian Brobbey hit the other Ajax goal and defender Olivier Verdon scored a late reply for the hosts.

KI Klaksvik, already sure to become the first Faroese club to secure a place in the group stage of a European competition, drew 1-1 with Moldovans Sheriff in Torshavn.

Danish defender Patrick Da Silva gave the hosts a 52nd-minute lead. Jerome Ngom Mbekeli, who plays as a defender for Cameroon but a striker for Sheriff, replied in the 73rd minute.

Last year's surprise quarter-finalists Union SG of Belgium beat Lugano 2-0.

In the Conference League, Manfred Ugalde gave Twente a 20th-minute lead in Istanbul but Fenerbahce hit back with a 30th minute goal by former Twente defender Jayden Oosterwolde. The hosts scored four times in the last 30 minute to win 5-1.

On a good night for Turkish clubs, Kazakhstan international Bakhtiyar Zaynutdinov scored five minutes into added time to give Besiktas a 3-2 victory over Dynamo Kyiv in Bucharest.

Kolo Muani put Eintracht Frankfurt, the 2022 Europa League winners, ahead away to Levski Sofia but Hassimi Fadiaga levelled in the dying seconds of five minutes of added time.

In Lille, 17-year-old defender Leny Yoro scored in the 89th minute as the hosts fought back for a 2-1 victory over Rijeka of Croatia.

Osasuna's European reprieve might prove short-lived as they lost 2-1 at home to Club Brugge.

The team from Pamplona qualified for Europe for the first time since 2006 only to be banned by UEFA for match-fixing allegations dating back to 2013. Their place was restored by the Court for Arbitration in Sport.

Andreas Skov Olsen gave the Belgians a 50th-minute lead. Ezeqiuel Avila hit a 78th minute equaliser only for Maxim de Cuyper to restore Brugge's lead two minutes later.

AZ Alkmaar, leading the Dutch league after two rounds, were held 1-1 at home by Norwegian Cup holders Brann. Chilean international Niklas Castro gave the visitors a 59th-minute lead. Centre back Pantelis Chatzidiakos replied 12 minutes later.

AFP photo