Ajax v Brighton, Toulouse v Liverpool, and more: Europa League – live | Europa League
PAOK 2-2 Aberdeen. Two minutes into the added seven at the Toumba Stadium. Taison with a free kick out on the left. He fizzes it into a crowded box. Some bagatelle. Aberdeen clear. Their European adventure is hanging by a thread, but it’s not over yet.
Toulouse 3-2 Liverpool. There will be seven extra minutes. Can Liverpool somehow scramble an unlikely point? “While I agree that Jürgen Klopp’s angry smile can be bone-chilling, I think what truly sets him apart is his ability to gnash his teeth in an almost impossible horizontal grinding motion. He is an absolute dentality monster.” A round of applause for Peter Oh, ladies and gentlemen. He’s here all week. Try the fluoride gum.
Mac Allister’s tenacity wins the ball 40 yards out. He spins and feeds Jota, who dribbles right to left, enters the box, and fizzes a forensic shot past the keeper. Too little, too late.
Ajax 0-2 Brighton. Ajax paint some pretty triangles as they work the ball in from the right flank. Suddenly Akpom is free on the penalty spot. He puts his foot through the ball; had it gone either side of Verbruggen, the net would have been divested of its moorings. As it is, it went straight at the keeper, who nevertheless parried bravely.
Toulouse 3-1 Liverpool. The jig is already up for Liverpool, let’s be honest, but Jurgen Klopp – not smiling any more, Kári Tulinius will be pleased to hear – sends on Jota for Diaz, just in case there’s a miracle around the corner.
Ajax 0-2 Brighton. Borges is sent into the box down the inside-right channel. He’s got the beating of Gross, but can’t squeeze the ball past Verbruggen. Ajax fans, used to much better fare than this, are getting extremely agitated now.
Toulouse 3-1 Liverpool. Alexander-Arnold’s corner is flapped away by Restes. Elliott attempts a drive from the edge of the box but the ball’s never getting through the crowded area. Liverpool extremely frustrated. “Does anyone in football have a more terrifying smile than Klopp when he’s angry?” asks Kári Tulinius, a rhetorical question if ever there was one. “If I saw someone smiling like that in a pub, I’d tell whoever’s with me that we should find another place to continue. Heck, if I saw someone smiling like that on a bus I’d get off at the next stop, even on a dark night in the middle of nowhere.”
… but it’s not going to matter, because Toulouse bounce back straight away! Dønnum sends a diagonal towards Suazo on the left-hand corner of the six-yard box. Suazo crosses low. Dallinga misses the ball altogether, six yards out, but no worries, because Magri steams in from the right and whistles a low drive past Kelleher!
… so having said that, Liverpool are gifted a lifeline! Gomez heads a ball across the face of the Toulouse goal from the left. At the far stick, a couple of yards out, Cásseres and Nicolaisen get in each other’s way with Salah lurking. Salah doesn’t get involved, but he doesn’t need to, because the ball clanks off Cásseres’s shoulder and in! What a farce!
Toulouse 2-0 Liverpool. Toulouse keeper Restes has had very little to do this evening. As Liverpool continue to huff and puff, Gakpo makes way for Nunez.
Scrub that! An Aberdeen free kick, the best part of 30 yards out on the left. McGrath sends an ambitious effort towards the bottom left … and it flies in! A fine hit, though Kotarski in the PAOK goal will be disappointed with the weak hand that helped it in.
A cross from the left is headed back across the face of the Aberdeen goal. Samatta eyebrows a flick into the top left, and Aberdeen are heading out of Europe.
Ajax 0-2 Brighton. Ajax are another European giant in Rabble Mode. Ramaj’s poor clearance tees up Fati on the penalty spot. The keeper’s blushes are spared by Šutalo’s late intervention, the ball taken off Fati’s toe just as a third looked likely.
Toulouse 2-0 Liverpool. Another disallowed Toulouse goal! Schmidt springs clear down the right and crosses low. Dønnum flicks elegantly across Kelleher and into the bottom left. But the flag goes up correctly for offside, Schmidt having gone far too early. Liverpool are a rabble right now.
Ajax 0-2 Brighton. João Pedro only just fails to meet a corner with a header six yards out; Mitoma then lashes over from distance. A third Brighton goal looks more likely than any Ajax response.
Toulouse 2-0 Liverpool. This scoreline doesn’t flatter Toulouse at all. The second goal had been in the post. On the touchline, Jurgen Klopp smiles, albeit with plenty of frost around the teeth. He knows his side are in a hole now.
Diaz tries one turn too many out on the right flank. Sierro takes a touch before wedging a cross in for Dallinga, who swivels and smashes an unstoppable shot across Kelleher and into the bottom left! They won’t be ruling that one out!
This is a lovely goal! The ball snaffled in midfield, and a five-on-four break. Fati, storming down the centre, drops a shoulder before slipping Adingra clear into the box on the right. Adringa whistles a shot across Ramaj and this is a brilliant Brighton performance! Ajax might not be very good right now … but they are still Ajax. A result to remember is very much on now!
Toulouse 1-0 Liverpool. It’s all happening in France. Salah battles down the inside-right channel and tries to hook a bouncing ball goalwards. He’s clattered by Restes as he sends the ball wide right. A worrying couple of minutes as Salah stays down, but after some treatment he’s good to continue.
Toulouse 1-0 Liverpool. Another huge let-off for Liverpool! Dallinga chases a pass down the inside-left channel, and shrugs off Matip with ease before whipping into the top left! He races off to soak up the acclaim, only to turn back from the crowd and realise the ref has blown for a foul. He did flick Matip, but the contact was minimal. That’s harsh … although replays suggest he might have been a smidgen offside anyway.
Toulouse 1-0 Liverpool. A huge chance for Toulouse to double their lead. Dallinga is allowed to waltz down the left, cut infield past Quansah, and slip Suazo clear. Suazo draws Kelleher and dinks the keeper … but the ball bounces well wide right. A massive let-off for the visitors.
Toulouse 1-0 Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp does indeed send for the cavalry. Ben Doak, unluckily, and Kostas Tsimikas and Wataru Endo, unsurprisingly, are hooked; Mohamed Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Dominik Szoboszlai come on.
Brighton, by contrast, would declare right now if they could. Marseille travel to Athens later this evening.
Liverpool may end up kicking themselves by the end of the evening. They’ll qualify from Group E as winners with two matches to spare, should they beat Toulouse and Union Saint Gilloise fail to win at LASK. Well, LASK are certainly doing their part: Maksym Taloverov has made it 2-0 against USG just before the break. Jurgen Klopp will want to effectively park the Europa League tonight until March … but he won’t be able to do so as things stand. Suddenly the table doesn’t look so good.
Albion have subdued the crowd in Amsterdam. They’re well worth their lead.
The Dons were holding on a bit towards the end of the half, but they’ve made it to the break on terms.
Klopp to call on the cavalry for the second half?
Ajax 0-1 Brighton. The Seagulls nearly double their lead in Amsterdam as Fati flicks a pass down the inside-right channel to release Adingra, who whips a low shot towards the near post. Ramaj does well to save with a telescopic leg, turning the ball around the post for a corner from which nothing happens.
PAOK 1-1 Aberdeen. The jig looks up for Aberdeen as the hosts launch a four-on-two counter. But fine work by MacKenzie denies Konstantelias twice from a tight angle on the left. PAOK should have worked that better, but hats off to MacKenzie for the last-ditch heroics.
Toulouse 1-0 Liverpool. Endo goes flying in on Dallinga and catches his man late. He’s very lucky not to be shown a second yellow. He’s surely in the last-chance saloon now. A fair chance he’ll be hooked at the break. If he makes it that far.
PAOK 1-1 Aberdeen. Schwab sends a shot millimetres wide of the left-hand post with Roos in the Aberdeen goal beaten all ends up. The width of a lick of paint in that.
Tsimikas faffs about down the Toulouse right. Dønnum strips him of possession and steams off towards the box. He takes a whack. The ball takes a deflection off Quansah to wrong-foot Kelleher and flies into the top right. Liverpool have plenty of work to do now, if they’re to secure qualification this evening.
Toulouse 0-0 Liverpool. Endo is booked for standing on Dallinga’s foot. Seeing he’d earlier got away with a shirt tug, he’ll be treading a fine line now. “Taison knockout punch indeed! PAOK!, er, POW! Right in the kisser!” Peter Oh there, with a Jackie Gleason reference. The internet kids can’t get enough of those.
Ajax 0-1 Brighton. Another hand-ball penalty scare for Brighton as Hlynsson’s dinked cross from the right hits Gross on the arm. But the referee’s not having it, and after a check, neither is VAR. Gross’s arm was by his side, though to reiterate, nobody knows anything any more.
Toulouse 0-0 Liverpool. Tsimikas crosses from the left. Restes should claim, but crashes into his own man Diarra. The ball drops to Doak, who sends a pearler goalwards. Restes redeems himself with a brave parry. Doak really got behind that one.
Toulouse 0-0 Liverpool. A cross from the right into the Liverpool box. Suazo slides in ahead of Kelleher but squirts his shot wide left. A let-off for the visitors. Meanwhile there’s more good news for the Reds as LASK take the lead against Union Saint Gilloise, Sascha Horvath with a 25th-minute penalty. If USG fail to win tonight, a Liverpool victory will ensure top spot in Group E.
PAOK 1-1 Aberdeen. The Dons nearly bounce back immediately, a low cross from the left flipped goalwards by Duk from six yards. Either side of the keeper and Aberdeen retake the lead … but it’s straight at Kotarski.
Taison with a knockout punch! Luis Lopes loses the ball in the midfield. Suddenly the visitors are on the back foot. Taison strides down the middle and lays off to Despodov on the right. Despodov cuts back from the byline and Taison can’t miss, slotting into the bottom left from ten yards.
Toulouse 0-0 Liverpool. Liverpool are dominant in terms of possession. Mac Allister lashes a shot over the bar. Doak embarks on a determined dribble that forces Diarra into evasive shirt-grabbing action. But Restes in the Toulouse goal hasn’t had too much to do.
A similar story in Thessaloniki! It’d been all PAOK during the early exchanges, but Duk opens the scoring on the break with a cute spin and forensic finish. Aberdeen’s European campaign isn’t quite done yet.
The hosts had been getting on top at the Johan Cruijff ArenA. First Mitoma survives a VAR penalty check for handball, then Hlynsson’s long drive is gathered by Verbruggen. But then a lax pass by Vos allows Adingra to intercept. He plays a simple ball down the middle to release Fati, who drills a low shot into the bottom left!
Toulouse 0-0 Liverpool. The visitors are beginning to ask questions. Mac Allister’s mere presence forces Schmidt into a rugby tackle that earns the first caution of the match, then Diaz twists the blood of Desler down the left, and cops a couple of accidental whacks in the mush for his trouble. Like he’ll care about such minor trifles this evening.
Toulouse 0-0 Liverpool. A couple of corners for the home side. Kelleher isn’t put to work. The Gomez near miss apart, it’s been a quiet start at the evocatively titled Stadium de Toulouse.
Ajax 0-0 Brighton. Yep, Milner’s done his hamstring. He trudges off in the solemn style. Billy Gilmour comes on in his stead.
Ajax 0-0 Brighton. A miserable start for James Milner in Amsterdam. He’s down on the turf and shaking his head sadly after stretching to block a shot. Doesn’t look like he’s going to be able to continue.
Toulouse 0-0 Liverpool. Nearly a fast start for Liverpool as Gakpo’s free kick from the left is flicked on by Gomez, whose header cannons off the bar with keeper Restes rooted to the spot! Gomez has never scored a goal for Liverpool; so close to breaking his duck.
Off we go, then! They’ve kicked off in Amsterdam, Toulouse and Thessaloniki. Big night coming up. Let’s get the network together!
The teams are out! Toulouse wear white and Fiorentina-purple stripes; Liverpool are in red. So are Aberdeen, with PAOK in Newcastle-esque black and white. Brighton sport green and black, while Ajax are dressed as Ajax. We’ll be off in a minute!
Roberto De Zerbi speaks to TNT. “To win the game we must play a great game with quality and a great mentality … in attack we have a lot of different characteristics … it is difficult to decide on the first XI … we always want to win the game in every competition … it is a very tough group … to qualify we have to play three important, difficult games with difficult opponents … but I think we have enough quality to win.”
Aberdeen will be knocked out of the Conference League if they fail to beat PAOK tonight and Eintracht Frankfurt win at HJK Helsinki. They make two changes in the wake of their League Cup semi-final win over Hibs. Duk and Ryan Duncan come in for Bojan Miovski and Leighton Clarkson.
PAOK: Kotarski, Vieirinha, Troost-Ekong, Koulierakis, Baba, Tsingaras, Schwab, Despodov, Konstantelias, Taison, Brandon.
Subs: Michailidis, Meite, Murg, Andrija Zivkovic, Kedziora, Zivko Zivkovic, Lyratzis, Ozdoev, Vrakas, Samatta, Rafa Soares, Tzimas.
Aberdeen: Roos, Jensen, Rubezic, Gartenmann, MacKenzie, Devlin, Duncan, Shinnie, Barron, McGrath, Lopes.
Subs: Miovski, Clarkson, Gueye, Hayes, Williams, Sokler, Polvara, MacDonald, Milne, Dadia, Doohan, Marshall.
Referee: Juxhin Xhaja (Albania).
Liverpool can qualify for the knockout stage with victory against Toulouse. Should that happen, and Union Saint Gilloise fail to beat LASK, the Reds would win the group and go straight into the last 16 with two games to spare.
It’s a bit tighter for Brighton.
Jurgen Klopp, who takes charge of Liverpool for the 450th time, speaks to TNT. “Lucho [Diaz] is really happy and thumbs up all the time, so it looks good, very, very good … timing-wise it couldn’t have been better … we asked him [if he wants to play] and he wants to, and he will … we wasted energy [against Luton] rather than invest it … counter-press is the most economic way to defend … that I didn’t like and I want to see a massive improvement … Toulouse play probably their best team … we have to be ready for them … the people are ready to create a proper atmosphere … we have to concentrate on our own performance … real compactness, real discipline.”
Brighton make three changes to the starting XI sent out at Goodison Park last weekend. Ansu Fati, Joao Pedro and Mahmoud Dahoud replace Billy Gilmour, Evan Ferguson and Adam Lallana, all of whom drop to the bench.
The big news regarding Liverpool is the welcome release of Luis Diaz’s father … and the player, relieved and delighted, starts this evening. Other notable selections: teenage winger Ben Doak, the Jinky Johnstone de nos jours; Alexis MacAllister, who can’t play against Brentford at the weekend due to suspension; and Jarell Quansah, filling in for the ill Virgil van Dijk. There are quite a few members of the cavalry on the bench should things go wrong: Mohamed Salah, Dominik Szoboszlai, Darwin Nunez, Diogo Jota, Ibrahima Konate and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
The news everyone wanted to hear.
Toulouse: Restes, Desler, Costa, Nicolaisen, Diarra, Suazo, Schmidt, Sierro, Casseres Jr, Donnum, Dallinga.
Subs: Cissoko, Gelabert, Kamanzi, Mawissa Elebi, Begraoui, Magri, Bangre, Keben, Dominguez, Lacombe.
Liverpool: Kelleher, Gomez, Matip, Quansah, Tsimikas, Elliott, Mac Allister, Endo, Doak, Gakpo, Diaz.
Subs: Alisson, Konate, Szoboszlai, Nunez, Salah, Jota, Chambers, Scanlon, McConnell, Alexander-Arnold, Mrozek, Gordon.
Referee: Georgi Kabakov (Bulgaria).
Ajax: Ramaj, Gaaei, Rensch, Sutalo, Hato, Vos, Hlynsson, Taylor, Berghuis, Brobbey, Bergwijn.
Subs: Akpom, Borges, Saleh-Eddine, Medic, Mikautadze, Pasveer, Sosa, Avila, Tahirovic, Godts, Martha, Setford.
Brighton & Hove Albion: Verbruggen, Milner, van Hecke, Dunk, Veltman, Dahoud, Gross, Adingra, Fati, Mitoma, Joao Pedro.
Subs: Igor, Webster, Gilmour, Lallana, Baleba, Steele, Ferguson, Estupinan, McGill, Buonanotte, Hinshelwood, Duffus.
Referee: Nikola Dabanovic (Montenegro).
There’s a sprawling card in the Europa League and Europa Conference League tonight. Full details of that can be found here … but in the sort of myopic, parochial and narrow-minded style that might give us a shot at being home secretary one day, we’re mainly concentrating on these 5.45pm kick-offs …
… and these 8pm matches …
… though that little lot should still be enough to get the juices flowing, right? Yes that’s right! Team news when we have it.