Several clubs entered the early fixtures on Matchday 4 with a chance to secure a place in the Europa League knockout stage. Some were victorious in their quest to reach the round of 32, while others saw their dreams of progression come to an early end. However, uncertainty remains for a vast majority of teams.
There’s still plenty to play for in Group A, as Young Boys continued their impressive European campaign with a narrow 1-0 win over CSKA Sofia. The Swiss side is now level on points with leaders AS Roma, who take on CFR Cluj later on Thursday.
Mikel Arteta gave Nicolas Pepe a chance to redeem himself after picking up a red card last weekend, and the Ivorian winger didn’t disappoint, scoring the winning goal to help Arsenal beat FK Molde 3-0 and win Group B. Molde remain in second with a three-point cushion over Rapid Wien ahead of the Austrian side’s tie with Dundalk.
Leicester City secured a spot in the round of 32 after coming from behind twice to draw SC Braga 3-3 in Portugal. Brendan Rodgers’ men sit atop the group with a three-point edge over Braga heading into the penultimate matchday against last-place Zorya, who secured their first win of the competition versus AEK Athens on Thursday.
Celtic all but sealed their fate with a dismal 4-1 loss to Sparta Prague that leaves the Scottish side at the bottom of Group H with one point from four matches. Sparta Prague remain very much in the hunt for a place in the knockout stage, sitting one point back of Milan after the Italians drew 1-1 with leaders Lille.
It’s wide-open in Group I, as Villarreal remained top of the group after a 1-1 draw against second place Maccabi Tel Aviv. Sivasspor are right behind the Israeli club after their 3-2 victory over Qarabag that officially ended the Azerbaijani side’s hopes of advancing.
Royal Antwerp topped Austrians LASK 2-0 on the banks of the Danube thanks to Lior Refaelov’s deflected free-kick finish and Pieter Gerkens’ late insurance goal. The Belgian side provisionally claims top spot in the quartet on nine points through four matches. Tottenham can vault Antwerp if Jose Mourinho’s charges beat Ludogorets in north London as part of Thursday’s late kickoffs.
This group promises to go down to the wire, with leaders Dinamo Zagreb and bottom side CSKA Moscow separated by just five points following the day’s matches. Dinamo secured a vital 2-0 victory at Wolfsberger behind a Lovro Majer goal on the hour mark and a Bruno Petkovic finish with 15 minutes left. Feyenoord and CSKA shared the spoils in a goalless draw in Russia.
Christoph Baumgartner’s second Europa League goal and Andrej Kramaric’s injury-time penalty were enough for Hoffenheim to edge Slovan Liberec 2-0 in the Czech Republic and secure progression to the knockout round. Joining the midtable Bundesliga side are Red Star Belgrade, who dispatched Gent 2-0 in northern Belgium to ensure the Serbian giants finish no worse than second.