One in, two out: Mixed results for Czech football teams in Europa League

Slavia secured a place in the knockout round, but it was bad news for the other two Czech teams left in the competition.

Tom Lane

Written by Tom Lane Published on 04.12.2020 08:50:00 (updated on 04.12.2020) Reading time: 2 minutes

It was a mixed evening for Czech representatives in the UEFA Europa League as Slavia Prague qualified for the knockout stages while Sparta Prague and Slovan Liberec were eliminated with one game each still left to play.

Slavia needed only a point from one of their final two games but won comfortably, securing qualification with a 3-0 win against the Israeli team Hapoel Be'er Sheva.

Goals from Abdallah Sima and Nicolae Stanciu helped secure the result for Jindřich Trpišovský's team.

The Head Coach told the Slavia website:

"I rank the procedure very high, we managed to eliminate Nice and have twelve points after five laps, which is an incredible success for the team. In the group with Leverkusen and Nice, we have a certain procedure before the end of the round and we are also going to fight for the first place."

"I would put this on an equal footing with the Champions League and the spring campaign of the European League two years ago. We have a lot of young boys, after the first round we were without a point, so if we beat Leverkusen and were the first, it would be an even greater success."

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Sparta needed at least a draw away at Lille to give themselves a chance of progressing and despite leading - having had a man sent off the pitch - up until the 80th minute, they lost 2-1 in France to crash out of the tournament.

Václav Kotal rued the red card his team received, saying it was a "a pity we went to ten [men]" and calling it "terribly difficult to play against such a quality" with one less player.

Finally, Liberec were knocked out of the competition despite a 2-1 victory against Genk in Belgium. However, a draw between the other two teams in the group, Hoffenheim and Red Star, meant both of those sides qualified for the next round.

Kamso Mara and Taras Kacharaba scored the goals for the away side, but it was not enough to give them a chance of progressing in the competition.

There is still one game left in the group stage, and a win or draw for Slavia would see them finish top of Group C and theoretically secure an easier draw for the Round of 32.

Other teams that have qualified and who therefore could travel to Prague when the competition returns next year include AC Milan, Arsenal, Tottenham, Napoli, Villareal and Dinamo Zagreb amongst others, while the likes of Real Madrid, Ajax and Manchester United could still potentially drop into the competition from the UEFA Champions League.

This Sunday sees one of the biggest fixtures in the Czech football calendar as rivals Slavia and Sparta meet at the Generali Arena, with the teams in first and second place in the league table. 

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