Football

Europa League: Liverpool and Spurs through to the knockout stages

Liverpool and Tottenham both won their matches and earned them the right to advance to the knockout stages of the Europa League Thursday (Nov 27 Singapore time).

Christian Benteke's brilliant strike saw Liverpool beat Bordeaux 2-1 to qualify for the knockout stages of the Europa League with a match to spare.

 

 

The Belgium international's goal in first-half added time proved decisive after James Milner's earlier penalty had spared the blushes of goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, whose needlessly-conceded free-kick for time-wasting had allowed Henri Saivet to score.

In addition to his goal Benteke had a further two ruled out but ultimately his contribution was enough to guarantee the Reds a sport in the next round after Rubin Kazan's win over the Swiss on

Liverpool travel to Switzerland next month needing only a point against Sion to top Group B, although their place in the next round is already guaranteed after Rubin Kazan's win over the Swiss.

Benteke's brilliance in front of goal would have been welcomed by Klopp, especially as Daniel Sturridge's anticipated presence on the bench did not materialise after the striker was sent for a scan on his foot after complaining of discomfort in training.

In almost three years the 26-year-old England International has missed almost as many matches (68) as he has made appearances (70).

Kane heads Spurs through

Meanwhile, Tottenham overcame overcame stubborn Group J minnows Qarabag 1-0 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The England striker, a surprise inclusion in the starting line-up with Spurs facing Barclays Premier League champions Chelsea less than 72 hours later, nodded in the winner with 12 minutes remaining.

 

 

It meant Tottenham's longest-ever journey for a competitive fixture – a 5,000-mile round trip to the capital of Azerbaijan – proved worthwhile as they made the last 32 with a match to spare.

What was shaping up to be a frustrating evening, with both Son Heung-min and Dele Alli denied by the woodwork, was finally settled by in-form Kane's ninth goal in six games.

Played in front of a uboisterous partisan crowd, and with barely 100 visiting fans in attendance, Tottenham's first chance fell to England new boy Alli.

But unfortunately the midfielder could not repeat his Wembley stunner against France when meeting Kieran Tripper's cut-back and scuffed his shot wide.

The hosts were intent on sitting deep and keeping men behind the ball, but they spurned a glorious in first-half stoppage time when a two-against-one break ended with Dani Quintana firing too close to Hugo Lloris.

That let-off seemed to give Spurs a lift and moments after the interval Eriksen let fly with a shot which just missed the target.

Qarabag were still proving to be a nuisance on the counter, though, and Quintana saw one curling effort shot deflected wide before forcing a decent save from Lloris with a 20-yard drive.

Tottenham probed for a winner and Alli's shot from Kane's inside pass was repelled by Sehic before, on the hour mark, Son unleashed a cracker from the edge of the box which clattered off the crossbar.

Ten minutes later Alderweireld's ball over the top found Alli at the far post but his volley came back off the foot of Sehic's right-hand post.

But moments later Kane made the breakthrough, after Son flicked on Eriksen's corner, the England striker getting the final touch to nod the ball over the line and ensure Tottenham's European adventure continued into 2016.

Source: PA Sport, Reddit,

 

EUROPA LEAGUEliverpooltottenham hotspurChristian BentekeHarry Kane