Schalke, Athletic Bilbao and Costa Nhamoinesu’s Sparta Prague were among the sides to book their place in the knockout stage of the Europa League on Thursday, while last year’s beaten finalists Dnipro crashed out.
Schalke and Sparta Prague secured qualification from Group K with 1-0 home wins. Schalke saw off Apoel Nicosia thanks to an 87th-minute winner from Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting. Dennis Aogo missed a penalty two minutes later for the Germans. Sparta’s goal against Asteras Tripoli came rather earlier, Jakub Brabec scoring in the 33rd minute, but the Czechs had to play the last eight minutes with 10 men after the sending off of Ladislav Krejci. The win left Schalke top with Sparta two points further back.
Liverpool ensured their progress to the Europa League knockout stage with a 2-1 victory over Bordeaux.
In Group C Krasnodar beat Borussia Dortmund 1-0 thanks to Pavel Mamaev’s second-minute penalty, but both sides were already through.
Napoli made it five wins from five at the top of Group D with a 1-0 win at Club Brugge in a match played behind closed doors as a result of security fears in Belgium.
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