Europa League: Ndidi, Chukwueze, Akpoguma lead Nigerians chase; Ejuke, Lawal out; See all the 32 Qualifiers

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Super Eagles midfielder, Wilfred Ndidi made his first start since his return from injury and helped Leicester City qualify from Group G after they finished the group stage with a 2-0 home win over AEK Athens on Thursday night.

Ndidi played for 63 minutes before his coach, Brendan Rodgers replaced him with Nampalys Mendy while his compatriot, Kelechi Iheanacho also bagged a rear start for the Foxes before he was substituted for Ayoze Perez in the 56th minute. Leicester topped the group with 13 points ahead of Sporting Club Braga on head to head despite both finishing with the same number of points. Sporting Braga thrashed Ukrainian side, Zorya 2-0 to end the group stage with a flourish.

AC Milan and Victor Osimhen’s former club, Lille easily progressed from Group H with 13 and 11 points respectively. Celtic beat Lille 3-2 in an entertaining tie at Hampden Park while the Rossoneri strolled to a 1-0 away win at Sparta Prague.

Olanrewaju Kayode was booted out of the competition along with his Turkish side, Sivasspor in Group I after they fell 1-0 to Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel but Samuel Chukwueze’s Villarreal tie with Azerbaijani side, Qarabag was canceled after some players of the away team tested positive to Coronavirus.

The Spanish side topped the group despite playing a game less with 13 points while Maccabi Tel Aviv joined them in the Round of 32 with 11 points.

Tobias Lawal was missing for LASK who ended the group stage with a 3-1 away win at Ludogorets Razgrad but the victory wasn’t enough for them to qualify from Group J. In the other group tie, Tottenham humbled Royal Antwerp 2-0 in London to leapfrog the Belgian side. Both clubs however nicked the two tickets in the group with 13 and 12 points respectively.

Chidera Ejuke’s CSKA Moscow ended the group stage with a disappointing 3-1 loss to Dinamo Zagreb to finish last in Group K where Zagreb and Austrian side, Wolfsberger picked the group’s tickets at the expense of CSKA and Feyenoord who suffered a 1-0 defeat in Vienna in the last game.

After missing Hoffenheim’s 3-1 home win over Augsburg last weekend Kelvin Akpoguma returned to the starting line up for the German side on Thursday in their 4-1 demolition of Gent in Group L.
Hoffenheim finished as first in the group with 16 points while Red Star held to a goalless draw by Slovan Liberec came second with 11 points.

EUROPA LEAGUE ROUND OF 32 QUALIFIERS

AS Roma (Italy)
Young Boys (Switzerland)
Arsenal (England)
Molde FK (Norway)
Bayer Leverkusen (Germany)
Slavia Prague (Czech Republic)
Rangers (Scotland)
Benfica (Portugal)
PSV (Holland)
Granada (Spain)
Napoli (Italy)
Real Sociedad (Spain)
Leicester City (England)
Sporting Braga (Portugal)
AC Milan (Italy)
Lille (France)
Villarreal (Spain)
Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel)
Tottenham (England)
Royal Antwerp (Club Brugge)
Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia)
Wolfsberger AC (Austria)
Hoffenheim (Germany)
Red Star (Serbia)
Salzburg (Austria)
Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine)
Olympiacos (Greece)
Manchester United (England)
FC Krasnodar (Russia)
Club Brugge (Belgium)
Dynamo Kiev (Ukraine)

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