Djurgården of Sweden finished the group stage unbeaten

In it to win it - UEFA Europa Conference League round-up

West Ham United’s reward for making UEFA Europa Conference League (UECL) history was a place in the round of 16 in March 2023.

The Hammers’ 3-0 victory over FCSB in Romania made it a perfect six Group B wins out of six – the first time in the competition’s two-year history that a club has won every group-stage tie.

The Irons became just the fourth English club to collect 18 points out of 18 from the group stage of a European competition, following Liverpool in last season’s UEFA Champions League and Tottenham Hotspur (2013/14) and Arsenal (2020/21) in the UEFA Europa League.

West Ham are one of eight clubs to win their group and go directly to the round of 16, while the eight UECL group runners-up will take on one of eight third-placed sides from the Europa League group stage in the knockout play-off round, the draw for which will take place on Monday 7 November.

The winners of those eight two-legged ties, which will be played on 16 and 23 February 2023, will advance to the round of 16, which will be held on 9 and 16 March next year. The round of 16 draw will be held on Friday 24 February 2023.

So, with the group stages of both tournaments completed, here are the 24 clubs still in contention…

İstanbul Başakşehir topped Group A

UEFA EUROPA CONFERENCE LEAGUE

Turkish club İstanbul Başakşehir secured Group A on head-to-head record ahead of Italian side Fiorentina, with both finishing on 13 points.

West Ham United’s historic performance saw them win Group B by ten points ahead of RSC Anderlecht of Belgium, who snatched second from Silkeborg IF by winning 2-0 in Denmark on Matchday Six.

Anderlecht, who the Hammers cannot meet again until the quarter-finals, are the only one of the 23 clubs still in the competition that West Ham have faced in European competition previously – a 4-2 European Cup Winners’ Cup final defeat in 1976, followed by 2-1 and 1-0 victories in this season’s UECL group stage.

Having already won Group C with a game to spare, Villarreal were beaten 3-0 at Lech Poznań on Matchday Six, enabling the Polish side to hold off Hapoel Be’er Sheva of Israel – 4-0 home winners over Austria Wien on Thursday – and finish second.

Group D went down to the wire, and it was Nice of France who finished top ahead of Partizan of Serbia on head-to-head record. Those two finished on nine points, with 1. FC Köln of Germany third on eight.

Jens Odgaard's late goal helped AZ through

AZ of the Netherlands made it 15 points from a possible 18 in Group E with a 2-1 home win over Dnipro-1 courtesy of Jens Odgaard’s 87th-minute goal, forcing the Ukrainians to settle for second place.

Djurgårdens IF of Sweden ended Group F unbeaten with a 1-0 home win over Shamrock Rovers of the Republic of Ireland on Matchday Six. The Stockholm club tallied 16 points, double the number Belgian side Gent collected to finish second, following a 4-0 victory over Molde of Norway.

Sivasspor were the second Turkish club to win through directly to the round of 16, with a 1-1 draw at Slavia Prague enough to see the Süper Lig side pip CFR Cluj of Romania into second place in Group G by a single point. Slavia’s third-place finish ended their hopes of playing in the final in their own Fortuna Arena next June.

Slovan Bratislava of Slovakia topped Group H ahead of Basel of Switzerland on head-to-head record, as both clubs finished on eleven points. Basel’s 2-1 Matchday Six win at Pyunik saw them hold off the Armenians’ challenge.

 

UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE

The eight clubs who finished third in their UEFA Europa League groups and have dropped into the UECL knockout play-off round are AEK Larnaca of Cyprus, Bodø/Glimt of Norway, Portuguese side Braga, Italian club Lazio, Ludogorets of Bulgaria, Qarabağ of Azerbaijan, Sheriff of Moldova and Turkish outfit Trabzonspor.

 

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