RECAP: EUROPA LEAGUE ACTION
A five-goal difference in aggregate scoring was the theme for two Yanks abroad who found themselves on opposite ends of third round Europa League results.
Bursaspor 6-0 KuPS
Echtu Tabe and KuPS saw their Europa League run come to a screaching halt against Turkish Bursaspor.
Despite an embarrassing Veikkausliiga run thus far, Tabe's side had been able to hang their hats on the Europa League where KuPS had made club history in advancing though to the third qualifying round. Further history would have to be put on hold, however, as Bursaspor erupted for six goals in their home leg.
KuPS were able to hold their defensive shape until a 23rd minute goal from Ibrahim Ozturk brought the walls crumbing down. After Tabe successfully defended a corner just moments before, Ozturk managed to fight through the melee of swinging feet as he poked in the aggregate-tying goal.
Five minutes later it was Bursaspor on the attack again, but this time through the run of play. A beautiful pass that beat three KuPS defenders made its way to Sebastian Andres Pinto Perurena, and the Chilean made no mistake about the finish, roofing the shot from eight yards out.
The final Turkish goal of the half came from another beautiful pass, this time into a crowded box during a Bursaspor break-away. After a 'dummy' move fooled Tabe, Pablo Martin Batalla nutmegged KuPS goalkeeper Mika Hilander to put the Turks two goals up on aggregate.
A fourth goal wasn't far off for the hosts. Just two minutes into the second half, Bursaspor struck again. A long throw-in bounced dangerously to the top of the penalty box where Tabe defended it well. But the loose ball quickly found its way back to the host's feet, and this time it was Alfred N'Diaye who scored the goalzo from 35 yards out, going to the top left corner over Hilander.
Two minutes after N'Diaye, it was Pinto Perurena with his second of the game. A long cross from the right flank was misplayed by Tabe, leaving the Chilean striker all alone for the simple header into the net.
The scoring was capped by Turkish defender Ozan Tufan who had been substituted on in the 63rd minute. Tufan ran the length of the field during a Bursaspor break-away in the 72nd minute, and after Tabe pushed away a long cross from the right, it was the Bursaspor defender who put the final nail in the coffin, ending the match at 6-0.
A poor defensive showing from KuPS wasn't entirely Tabe's fault, regardless of his position at centerback. The American's back line was clearly over-matched from the start and it was only a matter of time before their luck in the Europa League ran out.
Hannover 2-0 St. Patricks
In front of a half-full AWD-Arena crowd, Steve Cherundolo and Hannover 96 dispatched St. Patricks of Ireland with relative ease.
Taking a 3-0 aggrigate lead into their home leg, Hannover were content to defend for the beginning of the match in an attempt to foil any early goals from sneaking through. Their plan worked, and they were even able to add two goals to their total.
After 32 minutes of scoreless action, Szabolcs Haszti was fouled in the attacking third for Hannover. Taking the free kick, Haszti found the head of Karim Haggui who beat two St. Patricks defenders for his first international goal with the German club.
Shortly after the goal, defender Christian Schulz went down clutching his calf. He was replaced in defense by Mario Eggimann who would soon get on the scoreboard.
To begin the second half, it would be Hannover doubling their lead before St. Patricks could settle in. Off of a short corner, Konstantin Rouch quickly sent in a ball Eggimann. The replacement made no mistake about the header, skipping it off the bottom of the cross bar and into the back of the net, setting the final score at 2-0.
St. Patricks never got into any kind of offensive rhythm, due in large part to the skillful play of Cherundolo and his teammates at the back. The veteran played a second full 90 minutes of the tournament in as many games as Hannover advanced 5-0 on aggrigate.
Terrence Boyd and Rapid Vienna overcame a 2-1 defecit in the first leg against Vojvodina, scoring two goals in stoppage time for the 3-2 aggregate victory. Boyd drew the foul and penalty kick for the first score, and netted the game-winning goal for his club.
Playoff Draw: Hannover 96 (S. Cherundolo) of Germany vs. Slask Wroclaw of Poland; Rapid Vienna (T. Boyd) of Austria vs. PAOK of Greece.