Football (soccer) teams from Kazakhstan, Russia and Azerbaijan have wrapped up their first leg matches in the third qualifying round of the 2019/2020 UEFA Europa League and managed to come out on top.
Kazakhstan's team Astana was able to pull off another headline-grabbing win like it managed recently against Santa Coloma. Rúnar Már Sigurjónsson broke Valetta’s short resistance in the eighth minute of Thursday’s game, followed by two goals scored by Yuri Logvinenko and Marin Tomasov, in the 15th and 35th minute, respectively. Sigurjónsson scored another goal in the second half, while Rangelo Janga scored the last goal, crushing the team from Malta.
At age 27, Janga says the team cannot afford to kick back and relax.
“You never know – just watch the Champions League matches with its crazy comebacks. I think we need to score in the next match as soon as possible and go on,” he said Friday in an interview with Sports.kz.
Astana will again face team Valetta in the Europa League third qualifying round on August 15. The winner of that game will move on to the playoff round.
Meanwhile, Russia’s Spartak hammered Switzerland’s Tun in the third qualifying round first leg as well. Goals by Spartak’s Ezequiel Ponce and Zelimkhan Bakaev impressed gamewatchers, before Nias Hefti from Tun cut through Spartak’s defence to score in the second half. Simone Rapp scored a second goal for Tun, but Zelimkhan Bakaev from Spartak added one more to end the match in favor of the Russian team.
Spartak joined the Europa League after ranking fifth within 2018–19 Russian Premier League. The second leg of the third qualification round will take place at Spartak’s Otkritie Arena on August 15.
Azerbaijan’s Neftchi survived a nervy night as it finished with a draw with Israeli Bnei Yehuda. During the first leg on Thursday, Tamabi Sages and Mohammad Ghadir gave Bnei Yehuda the lead, but Steeven Joseph-Monrose and Namik Alasgarov equalised the score. Alasgarov’s decisive goal was secured in the dying 97th minute of the game.
In the previous qualifying round Neftchi crushed Russia’s Arsenal with a total score of 4:0.
Neftchi will go into next week's second leg to meet Bnei Yehuda once again.