Promotions

UEFA EUROPA CONFERENCE LEAGUE: AJAX BEAT BODO/GLIMT AFTER EXTRA-TIME TO REACH LAST 16 AS BETIS AND FRANKFURT CRASH OUT

Ajax overcame a blitz from Bodo/Glimt to progress to the last 16 of the UEFA Europa Conference League with a 2-1 win in Norway. Kenneth Taylor’s effort handed the Dutch giants a 4-3 aggregate victory as both sides were reduced to 10 men. Real Betis crashed out after a 1-1 draw at Dinamo Zagreb to exit 2-1 on aggregate. Eintracht Frankfurt are also out after losing to Union Saint-Gilloise.
Ajax withstood the Bodo/Glimt storm in the Arctic Circle to progress to the last 16 of the UEFA Europa Conference League on Thursday, but Real Betis and Eintracht Frankfurt crashed out.
The Dutch giants needed Kenneth Taylor’s fortunate finish deep into extra time to see off Bodo 2-1 on the night in Norway and 4-3 on aggregate.
Bodo were left to rue in the Johan Cruyff Arena last week, and a series of missed chances as they dominated the four-time European champions and hit the bar three times.
Ajax are enduring a poor season as they sit fifth in the Eredivisie and closer to the relegation zone than runaway leaders PSV Eindhoven.
Jordan Henderson’s arrival in January has done little to arrest the Ajax slump and the England international is yet to win a game since joining the club as he was not in the visitors’ squad.
Captain against the run of play.
But they were reduced to 10 men early in second half when Josip Sutalo saw red for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity.
Ajax escaped potentially another red card and a penalty moments later when Borna Sosa handled on the line but was bailed out for a questionable foul on goalkeeper Diant Ramaj.
Patrick Berg and Jens Petter Hauge cracked powerful efforts off the crossbar as Bodo piled on the pressure until they two were reduced to 10 men for two quick bookings for Albert Gronbaek.
Berg finally found a deserved equaliser when he drilled in off the post seven minutes from time.
Bodo were then denied a winner with virtually the last kick of the game by an offside flag.
That was to prove decisive as Taylor’s cross-cum-shot found a way into the top corner in the 114th minute.
DINAMO DOWN BETIS
Betis crashed out after a 1-1 draw at Dinamo Zagreb to deal another blow to Spain’s hopes of securing an extra place in the UEFA Champions League next season.
Cedric Bakambu’s clever backheel finish gave the visitors hope of overturning a 1-0 defeat in Seville last week.
But Japanese winger Takuro Kaneko snuck in at the back post to equalise on the hour mark and the Croatian champions held out despite being denied a penalty after a VAR review for a foul by Hector Bellerin.
La Liga trails Serie A, the Bundesliga and Premier League in the battle to finish as one of the top-two ranked nations for European performance over the season and earn an extra place in the Champions League.
Betis’ elimination leaves them without any representation in the Conference League, while Sevilla and Osasuna crashed out of European competition before Christmas.
FRANKFURT UNDONE BY USG
Frankfurt’s hopes of recreating their UEFA Europa League glory from two years ago came to an end as Union Saint-Gilloise stunned the Bundesliga side 2-1 at the Waldstadion.
Union were 2-0 down inside 10 minutes of the first leg but hauled themselves back to level terms for the trip to Germany and caused an upset thanks to second-half goals from Cameron Puertas and Dennis Eckert.
Junior Dina Ebimbe’s late consolation was too little, too late for Frankfurt, who are now winless in five games.
OLYMPIAKOS SEE OFF FERENCVAROS

Olympiakos finished off Hungarian champions Ferencvaros courtesy of Ayoub El Kaabi’s penalty to secure a 2-0 aggregate win.

Molde thrashed Legia Warsaw 3-0 in Poland to progress 6-2 on aggregate.
Sturm Graz were also convincing victors as a 1-0 win at Slovan Bratislava completed a 5-1 victory in the tie. Arsenal loanee Mika Biereth scored the only goal of the night in the Slovak capital.
Servette edged past Ludogorets Razgrad with a 1-0 victory in Bulgaria to progress by the same scoreline on aggregate. Timothe Cognat scored the only goal after just six minutes to send the Swiss champions through.
Aston Villa are among the sides in the draw for the last 16 which takes place on Friday at 12:00 UK time.