Six sides qualified from this section on Thursday evening, as Hannover earned a thrilling win over Helsingborg and Sporting were thwarted once again by Genk
Europa League: Matchday Four
|Inter booked a place in the last 32 with a comfortable 3-1 victory away to Partizan Belgrade in Serbia. (see full report here).
Earlier in the evening, Rubin Kazan also sealed qualification to the next round as they narrowly beat Neftchi in the Azerbaijani capital.
Vladimir Dyadun's fine header was the difference between the two sides, heading in from Bibras Natkho's well delivered cross. The Russian side progress alongside the 2010 Champions League winners.
|Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona were left frustrated as they were held to a 1-1 draw, leaving them with a near-impossible task to qualify.
The Israeli side, who are yet to win in Group I, started brightly, having broken the deadlock after three minutes. Laszlo Lencse's fine pass enabled Darko Tasevski to fire under the goalkeeper early on.
Nevertheless, Sparta were in the ascendancy after that setback, and equalised through a fantastic goal. Mario Holek headed on from the half-way line as Leonard Kweueke smashed in from 30 yards to restore parity. Neither side could get the winner in the second half, as Sparta move closer to qualification.
Meanwhile, Olympique Lyonnais qualified for the next round with a fine 3-2 victory over Athletic Bilbao at San Mames.
The hosts were the better side, but were quickly undone as Yoann Gourcuff's free-kick was converted in by Bafetimbi Gomis.
Gourcuff celebrated his call-up to the French national team by scoring the second on the stroke of half-time as Marcelo Bielsa's side floundered.
The second half was a brighter affair for Athletic Bilbao as they scored within three minutes of the re-start. Remy Vercoutre did well to stop an initial effort by Fernando Amorebieta, but could not stop Ander Herrera from reducing the deficit.
Herrera was fouled in the penalty box as Athletic were awarded a spot-kick on 55 minutes. Up stepped Aritz Aduriz to equalise. The lead only lasted eight minutes as Alexandre Lacazette powered Remi Garde's men back in front to seal progression from the group.
In the other game in London, Tottenham Hotspur ended a run of three straight draws to record a first group win as they beat Maribor 3-1 at White Hart Lane. (see full report here).
Bayer Leverkusen maintained their fine European form as they comfortably eased to a 3-0 victory over Rapid Vienna.
Fresh from beating the Austrian side 4-0 two weeks ago, it took four minutes for the breakthrough to be made in Germany as Jens Hegeler headed in after Junior Fernandes had earlier hit the woodwork.
The hosts were supremely dominant, and made it 2-0 soon after the re-start. Andre Schurrle hit a powerful half-volley on the edge of the area to double his side's advantage. Manuel Friedriech made it 3-0 soon to join Metalist in qualifying from the group.