Feyenoord v Roma, Shakhtar v Marseille and more: Europa League playoffs – live | Europa League

Key events

GOAL! Shakhtar 1-1 Marseille (Matvienko, 68)

Who ordered more second half goals?

Mykola Matviyenko has one for Shakhtar Donestk, who have hit back pretty much instantly against Marseille. It’s chaos at the back, Keystone Cops stuff from the French side as they fail to clear a set piece and the centre-back drills home with his left foot.

Romelu Lukaku always finds a way. Especially for Italian teams. And especially in the Europa League.

GOAL! Galatasaray 2-2 Sparta Prague (Kuchta, 65)

The goals are now flying in all over the place.

Sparta have equalised for a second time this evening at Galatasaray! Jan Kuchta scores and it’s yet another header. We’ve had a few of them tonight already.

GOAL! Feyenoord 1-1 Roma (Lukaku, 67)

And Lukaku delivers for Roma when needed! It looked initially like a deft header from the Belgian, but it actually came off his shoulder and went in after Spinazzola’s cross from the left.

Romelu Lukaku levels for Roma in Rotterdam! Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters

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GOAL! Shakhtar 0-1 Marseille (Aubameyang, 64)

The deadlock is finally broken and it’s a tidy finish from Aubameyang. He was found at the back post after an incisive Marseille move.

Roma have made an attacking change:

GOAL! Galatasaray 2-1 Sparta Prague (Mertens, 61)

Dries Mertens restores the lead! And it’s a second assist of the night for Mauro Icardi.

Good hold-up play from the striker, who lays it back for Mertens to take a shot that gets a wicked deflection and flies in.

Dries Mertens puts Galatasaray back in front in Istanbul. Photograph: Ümit Bektaş/Reuters

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61 mins: Shakhtar and Marseille continue to cancel out each other. The goalless draw benefits Marseille, you’d say, though they have enough quality to be a little more adventurous than this …

59 mins: Feyenoord haven’t offered a great deal since the resumption, but they’ve not been seriously threatened either. Calvin Stengs looks a cut above for them. He’s a name I’d be watching in relation to a possible Premier League move in the next few years.

This is the goal that has left it all-square between Galatasaray and Sparta Prague.

55 mins: Roma were very direct and very narrow in that first half. They’ve certainly trying to vary their attack now and show a little more patience. Dybala has been everywhere.

53 mins: Roma are making most of the running once more in Rotterdam, largely through the advanced wing-back Spinazzola down their left.

Feyenoord would probably take the 1-0 and take their chances in Rome, based on their tentative start to the second period.

GOAL! Young Boys 1-3 Sporting (Inácio, 48)

It hasn’t taken long for Sporting to re-establish their two-goal cushion and it’s that man Goncalo Inácio who has done it! Another goal this evening that has come from a set-piece, with an unmarked Inácio heading home.

We’ll do very well to see a better strike in this round than that effort from Preciado. Thunderous.

GOAL! Galatasaray 1-1 Sparta Prague (Preciado, 47)

A leveller for Sparta in Istanbul and the home supporters fall silent. This wasn’t really in the script, but tell that to Ángelo Preciado. It’s an absolute thunderbolt from the right-back as the ball bounced out from a corner.

48 mins: Stengs laid it off for Ueda but it was blocked in the end by the onrushing Roma defenders.

47 mins: A great free-kick opportunity for Feyenoord early in the second half …

Second half: We’re back under way in most of these Europa League playoffs now.

More goals, please. Always more goals.

I’m on 3 out of 4 for my predictions so far. We’re only a quarter of the way through these ties, of course.

Don’t forget that our coverage will stretch to the 8pm kick-offs, so you’re covered for an entire evening’s Europa action. You lucky lot.

Aaaaand breathe. Here’s that Feyenoord goal:


Feyenoord 1-0 Roma at the break. Daniele De Rossi is unchartered territory, having made a superb start to his tenure in the Italian capital, but Arne Slot’s side made the most of their best spell. A loud roar greets the half-time whistle, with the Dutch side leading a very tight game.

There’s no such breakthrough from either Shakhtar or Marseille, which is locked at 0-0 as the whistle sounds for the break.

It’s also half-time in the other two matches, with Galatasaray deservedly leading Sparta Prague 1-0; meanwhile Young Boys 1-2 Sporting is providing plenty of entertainment. The visitors looked to be in complete control but that Ugrinic goal on 42 minutes has opened up the game.

GOAL! Feyenoord 1-0 Roma (Paixão, 45)

That is a superb move and a fantastic header from Igor Paixão, down and low, to give the hosts the lead against Roma!

Igor Paixao opens the scoring for Feyenoord in Rotterdam. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters

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GOAL! Young Boys 1-2 Sporting (Ugrinic, 42)

Young Boys are back in it and I’m clearly watching the wrong two games …

Filip Ugrinic hits back immediately to give the Swiss side some hope before the interval. It was all a bit of a scramble but the home fans don’t care.

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Kit clashes – annoying aren’t they? Joe Pearson agrees with me:

“Hi Dom. I couldn’t agree more with your comments about the kits in the Feyenoord v Roma match,” he says. “It’s almost as if they already exchanged shirts. Roma’s black tops would go better with Feyenoord’s black shorts; as would Feyenoord’s red and white tops with Roma’s white shorts. What is wrong with people!?”

GOAL! Young Boys 0-2 Sporting (Gyökeres, 41 pen)

A penalty from Viktor Gyökeres doubles the Sporting lead just before half-time.

An emphatic spot-kick low and to the left from the man who is enjoying a prolific season in Portugal, to put it mildly.

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You can see why Marseille are eighth in Ligue 1 and why Gennaro Gattuso is under a fair bit of pressure. They’ve been very sloppy so far, allowing Shakhtar to set the tone in Hamburg.

Zubkov has been very impressive for the Ukrainians, with Aubameyang largely marginalised in this game so far.

Gennaro Gattuso; Sometimes maybe good, sometimes maybe…you know the rest. Photograph: Fabian Bimmer/AFP/Getty Images

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38 mins: Eguinaldo has just squandered the best chance of the match so far for Shakhtar, somehow skewing his shot high and not-so handsome after being found in acres of space on the 18-yard line.

36 mins: The high tempo that began the Feyernoord versus Roma clash has subsided somewhat, with both sides’ inability to find an early goal meaning they’re apporaching things with a little bit more caution now. The Dutch side are chiefly threatening from long range.

It was Marcus Edwards’ cutback from the right that was inadvertently turned into his own goal by Amenda. He’ll have to make Amends after that. No? Ok, sorry.

GOAL! Young Boys 0-1 Sporting (Amenda OG, 31)

The Portuguse side have the lead in Switzerland and it’s an own goal. Aurèle Amenda, the promising 20-year-old defender, has put it into his own net.

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At least half an hour has gone in these games now, with the Galatasaray contest running a bit behind. Just the one goal so far …

30 mins: Oh, Romelu, why have you never learned to stay onside? If anyone can solve the enigma that is the (still on loan from Chelsea) striker, please email me.

Romelu Lukaku was born offside. This may not be true. Photograph: Luciano Rossi/AS Roma/Getty Images

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28 mins: It’s still pretty even Stevens between Shakhtar and Marseille. The French side have been rather disjointed so far, but their defence is holding firm.

25 mins: Roma have been guilty of overplaying it when they get to the final third. Dybala and Lukaku are looking ominous, though, as Feyenoord fight hard to keep them at bay.

GOAL! Galatasaray 1-0 Sparta Prague (Demirbay, 19)

We have the first goal of the evening and it’s been scored by Kerem Demirbay!

He was afforded a ridiculous amount of space to coast down the left flank and hammer home at the near post, to cue the kind of celebrations you’d imagine from a home crowd in Istanbul.

Kerem Demirbay opens the scoring for Gala against Sparta Prague. Photograph: Murad Sezer/Reuters

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Since Roma are playing in Rotterdam, Peter Oh has some recommended listening for you all:

An important question from Ian Batch on email:

Thanks for your predictions, can you also tell us what that would do for the race for a 5th team in the CL next year? I’d read somewhere that France are 7th currently, but if all their teams go through in this round of matches, they’d be first? Say it isn’t so.

Now that is a good question, Ian. The Italian and English leagues are in pole position for the extra Champions League places, as I understand it. The French league is currently sixth.

18 mins: Flares from the crowd mean the stadium is full of smoke at Shakhtar v Marseille, so much so that you’d struggle to see someone on the opposite flank for a switch of play …

Play is suspended in the Shaktar v Marseille game, thanks to the smokey flares. Photograph: Fabian Bimmer/AFP/Getty Images

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16 mins: You honestly wouldn’t know Roma were the away side, the way they’re strutting their stuff in this game so far. Who’d have thought replacing Jose Mourinho with an inexperienced club legend would elicit such a spell of form?

Lukaku aims a header at goal, which is easily saved.

13 mins: Geoffrey Kondogbia is a vital player for Marseille and he’s helped them win the ball off Donestk plenty of times already, with the white-shirted visitors looking to stream forward on the counterattack whenever possible.

10 mins: So close for Dybala and so nearly 1-0 to Roma! Pellegrini latches onto a pass that splits the Feyenoord defence in half, with Wellenreuther beaten, as Dybala follows up and shoots just over.

Who fancies scoring the first goal of the round, then? All four ties are goalless as it stands. There’s no shortage of intent, especially from the away sides thus far.

There’s a healthyish crowd inside Hamburg’s Volksparkstadion for the clash between Shakhtar Donetsk and Marseille, with the Ukrainian side starting the more brightly in the opening seven minutes or so.

5 mins: Delightful stuff from Roma, with Lukaku playing a delicious backheel into the path of Bove, but it doesn’t quite run for the 21-year-old midfielder in the end. The visitors look very sharp, mind.

2 mins: Ugh, there’s a bit of a kit clash going on in Feyenoord versus Roma. Red, white and black plays … black and white with red numbers. How does that still happen in modern football?

Roma have the likes of Chris Smalling, Houssem Aouar, Stephan El Shaarawy and Renato Sanches on their bench. It’s been a purposeful start from both teams in Rotterdam.


Right, we’re ready to rock and roll in these four 5.45pm (GMT) games. Let’s go!

In case you’ve been living in a cave in which nobody has heard of Kylian Mbappé …

I’m not really a betting man, but here are my picks/predictions, the eight teams who I believe will join Liverpool, Brighton, West Ham, Rangers, Leverkusen, Atalanta, Slavia Prague and Villarreal in the Europa League last 16 proper:

  • Feyenoord

  • Galatasaray

  • Marseille

  • Sporting

  • AC Milan

  • Benfica

  • Freiburg

  • Braga

Feel free to pin post/come back to me when I’ve got all eight predicitons wrong …

Potentially unpopular opinion … this ball is top notch. A scorcher.

Speaking of Bayern and this week’s European thrills and spills, enjoy Football Daily – hot off the press – with your Thursday evening shandy.

At least there was one surprise result in the four opening Champions League last 16 first legs earlier this week, thanks to Bayern Munich doing their best Spurs impression with defeat at Lazio. Poor old Hazza Kane.

What would constitute a surprise in this Europa League playoff round? Galatasaray and Sporting have to be considered big favourites to progress beyond these ties; while later the heavyweights of AC Milan and Benfica will be expected to cruise through too. There’s not much between many of the other sides, though.

More team news: North London rejects Davinson Sanchez and Lucas Torreira start for Galatasaray – who are spearheaded by Euro veterans Mauro Icardi and Dries Mertens – against Sparta Prague.

There’s another one in the Marseille lineup against Shakhtar Donestk, as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang starts for the French side. Les Olympiens also have former Spurs backup goalkeeper Pau López between the sticks.

Sporting’s team is a hive of exciting young talent. Keep an eye on Gonçalo Inácio (22), Daniel Bragança (24) and, of course, Marcus Edwards (still only 25), the same age as red-hot striker Viktor Gyökeres.

Team news

Here are the Feyenoord and Roma team news graphics via Elon. The Italian outfit look pretty strong from where I’m sitting.


European footy is well and truly back for February and these days the Europa League really feels like a pretty big deal, even if we’re effectively at the round of 32 stage with the knockout round playoffs, which begin this evening with four first legs kicking off at 5.45pm (UK time).

There are no British teams in this round. Liverpool, Brighton, West Ham and Rangers all topped their groups to get a direct route to the last 16, with Feyenoord v Roma – a repeat of last year’s Europa League quarter final, and of the 2022 Europa Conference League final – the pick of the action this early evening. Shakhtar Donetsk v Marseille takes place in Hamburg and looks pretty tasty, while Galatasaray v Sparta Prague and Young Boys v Sporting are pretty high-quality ties as well.

There are also four more 5.45pm kick-offs in the Europa Conference League’s very own knockout round, featuring the likes of Olympiakos and Eintracht Frankfurt. So stay tuned and soak in as much European soccerball as you can muster.

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