Europa League: Di Maria destroys the dream of FC Nantes, Bayer takes out Monaco on penalties


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FC Nantes had granted itself the right to dream after its draw obtained in Turin a week ago (1-1). Unfortunately, the Canaries had a nightmare in this return leg of the Europa League play-offs. The boosted atmosphere of La Beaujoire will not have been enough. Juventus, who have seen others on the European scene, quickly extinguished the volcano. The fault especially with a Di Maria of the great evenings, author of a splendid skylight from the 5th minute (0-1). Nantes was not yet at the end of its sentence. Despite a collective determined to move forward, the switch was definitely made during this new number of Di Maria in the area. The Argentinian got rid of a first opponent then took advantage of the advantage over Lafont to hit Pallois, on the ground, who countered with his arm on his line. The referee imposed the double penalty, expulsion for the defender, and penalty for Juve…

Di Maria did not tremble and gave his team a break ahead of ten Nantes players (0-2, 20th). Inevitably, the task was impossible. Good intentions were no longer enough, like Blas or Simon. The Old Lady even took advantage of the opposing largesse to kill the suspense for good. Locatelli hit just wide (37th), Kean was a hair’s breadth from taking over Kostic’s cross on a new sublime transmission from Di Maria (44th), just before the Serb hit the post (45th + 2). The entries of Ganago and Moutoussamy at the break did not change anything, Lafont even having to save his team several times (50th, 52nd, 66th, 75th), before losing one last time on a new goal signed Di Maria, quicker to react after the stop of the goalkeeper on Sandro (0-3, 77th). The end of the dream ends in a brutal way, the way too.

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Sporting and Sevilla qualified

Reversed from the Champions League, Juventus will therefore see the knockout stages of the Europa League. While waiting for the draw, she will find two regulars of the C1. Eliminated in the OM group, Sporting CP also qualified after beating Midtjylland in Denmark 4-0. After the first leg draw (1-1), the Portuguese took advantage of the opposing defensive largesse following Coates’ opener to make matters worse. Finally, PSV Eindhoven takes the door against Sevilla FC. Hardly beaten 3-0 a week ago in Andalusia, the Dutch woke up too late to believe in the feat. Only, the goals of De Jong (77th) and especially Fabio Silva in added time (90th + 5) were not enough to reverse the trend. It is indeed the team of Jorge Sampaoli who climbs to the next round.

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Nantes will not have achieved the feat… nor will Monaco, who had nevertheless done the hardest part by winning the first leg at Leverkusen 3-2. The two teams launched hostilities from the first moments. Ben Yedder (4th) responded to a situation from Bakker (2nd). Nübel got busy in front of Adli (11th) but he quickly fell back into his traps. The German goalkeeper was holed up on this cross from Frimpong, leaving Wirtz to open the scoring in the empty goal (13th, 0-1). Picked cold, the Monegasques quickly equalized thanks to a penalty obtained by Ben Seghir and converted by Ben Yedder (1-1, 19th). A very short-lived joy because in the process, the Bayer corner resulted in the victorious strike from Palacios (1-2, 21st). We did not recognize the Asemists, overwhelmed in many areas, and saved this time by Nübel in front of Hlozek (33rd).

Monaco lose on penalties

This trend was unfortunately confirmed in the second half with a frankly superior German collective. Each incursion into the opposing camp hurt, while conversely, Monaco had only struck once on goal… on Ben Yedder’s penalty. Inevitably, the defense ended up cracking again on a very nice collective movement concluded by the head of Amine Adli (1-3, 58th). This time, there was urgency to react because the ASM was for the first time of the match virtually eliminated. The flash almost came out of Ben Yedder’s feet but his shot ended up on the bar (60th). Conversely, the defense was on the razor’s edge, like these two big chances from Frimpong (69th) and Hlozek (70th). Ben Seghir also tried but came up against Hradecky (70th). This last occasion also showed that Monaco was still alive.

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It was a bit of a miracle, but the Germans were going to regret not having killed the encounter. Starters from Jakobs and Embolo were good. On an overflow from Diatta on the right side, the Swiss even sent his head into the back of the net (2-3, 84th), and his club in overtime. 30 additional minutes during which Nübel was finally decisive in front of Bakker (93rd). It was almost the only thing to eat between two exhausted teams. Even the speed of the incoming Moussa Diaby did not change anything in this encounter. In the final moments, Hradecky preserved his own on this header from Volland (118th) to finish on penalties. Facing very accurate shooters on either side, it was Matazo who came up short, hitting the bar on his side’s 2nd attempt. Nübel could only slow down Diaby’s 5th shot from Bayer… We will have to rely on Rennes to see a French club in the round of 16.

The results of the matches at 6:45 p.m.:

Nantes 0 – 3 (1-1) Juventus : Di Maria (5th, sp 20th, 77th)

Monaco 2 – 3 (4-5 pens) (3-2) Bayer Leverkusen : Ben Yedder (sp 19th), Embolo (84th); Wirtz (13th), Palacios (21st), Adli (58th)

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Midtjylland 0 – 4 (1-1) Sporting CP : Coates (21st), Gonçalves (50th, 77th), Gartenmann (84th csc)

PSV Eindhoven 2 – 0 (0-3) Sevilla: De Jong (77th), Silva (90th+5)

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