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Lukaku scores for Roma to draw 1-1 at Feyenoord in Europa League, Marseille draws at Shakhtar

Ruben Loftus-Cheek scored two goals as AC Milan eased to 3-0 victory over Rennes in the first leg of the playoff for the Europa League’s round of 16 on Thursday.

The former Chelsea midfielder headed in the opener in the 32nd minute in front of over 69,000 spectators at the San Siro, with the ball bouncing in off the post.

He doubled the advantage by heading in the rebound from close range following a corner three minutes after halftime, before Rafael Leão finished the scoring for the dominant hosts.

Loftus-Cheek has now scored five goals in his last five games for Milan, a seven-time European Cup champion that has never won the second-tier Europa League or its predecessor, the UEFA Cup.

In the early kickoffs, Romelu Lukaku also kept up his hot scoring form by netting the equalizer to give Roma a 1-1 draw at Feyenoord.

Brazilian winger Igor Paixão put the hosts ahead with a header in the first-half injury time before Lukaku nodded home in the 67th after a meeting a cross into the box.

It was Lukaku’s sixth goal of this season’s Europa League and he now has 21 in his last 18 games in the competition.

It is the third time in three years that the two teams are playing each other in Europe, including the 2022 Europa Conference League final which Roma won 1-0 to give Jose Mourinho another major trophy.

This was the first European game in charge for former Roma captain Daniele De Rossi, who replaced the fired Mourinho as coach last month.

The eight runners-up in the Europa League group stage are playing the eight third-place teams from the Champions League group stage in the playoffs.

The return matches are scheduled for Feb. 22. The eight winners will then take on the Europa League’s group winners, who qualified directly for the round of 16.

They include Liverpool, West Ham and Brighton from the Premier League, as well Leverkusen, Atalanta, Villarreal, Rangers and Slavia Prague.

In a tense finish in Hamburg, Marseille substitute Iliman Ndiaye’s 90th-minute goal put his team ahead 2-1 ahead before Shakhtar Donetsk’s Eguinaldo salvaged a 2-2 draw in a game played in Germany due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Earlier, Marseille striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netted his 30th career goal in the Europa League to equal the competition record before Mykola Matviyenko equalized for the hosts.

Veteran Ángel Di María converted two penalties in the second half, with the second coming in stoppage time, as two-time European Cup champion Benfica beat 10-man Toulouse 2-1 in Lisbon. Freiburg held Lens to a 0-0 draw in Lens.

Mauro Icardi scored a late winner in stoppage time with a low shot from the edge of the area for Galatasaray to edge Sparta Prague 3-2 after both teams were reduced to 10 men. Jan Kuchta had scored for Sparta to make it 2-2 just minutes after Galatasaray defender Victor Nelsson received a red card. Sparta midfielder Matěj Ryneš was later sent off for his second yellow.

Abdellah Zoubir’s double and Juninho’s second half-goal lifted Qarabağ to a 4-2 upset victory at Braga. Braga’s Simon Banza had canceled out Marko Janković’ opener from the spot before halftime.

Also, Sporting Lisbon earned a 3-1 away win at Young Boys.


In the third-tier Europa Conference League, Ajax scored twice in stoppage time to salvage a 2-2 home draw against Norway’s Bodø/Glimt, which had just gone down to 10 men.

Odin Bjørtuft was sent off in the 90th minute for a foul in the area, and Ajax substitute Branco van den Boomen converted the ensuing penalty. Steven Berghuis then equalized in the seventh minute of stoppage time for the hosts.

Maccabi Haifa defeated Gent 1-0 in a game played at the Bozsik Aréna in Budapest, Hungary, due to the Israel-Hamas war.

Belgian league leader Union Saint-Gilloise came back from two goals down to salvage a 2-2 home draw against Eintracht Frankfurt despite having a player sent off in the 78th.

Forward Mika Biereth scored the opening goal early on for Sturm Graz in a 4-1 victory over 10-man Slovan Bratislava.

Fredrik Gulbradsen struck twice within seven minutes early in the game to lead Molde to a 3-2 win over Legia Warsaw in the Norwegian team’s first competitive game of the year.

Dinamo Zagreb stunned Real Betis 1-0 in Sevilla, Olympiacos beat Ferencvaros 1-0 and Ludogorets held Servette 0-0.

The competition’s playoffs features the runner-up teams from the group stage facing the third-place finishers in the Europa League group stage. The eight group winners, including Aston Villa and Fiorentina, have advanced to the last 16.


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