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Three of four Europa Conference League battles require extra-time or penalties to determine the semi-finalists

The return legs of the Europa Conference League’s quarter-finals offered plenty of drama, as one of the clashes was decided after extra-time, and two had to go to penalties to determine a winner. Fiorentina eliminated Viktoria Plzen with a 2:0 victory, but it did not come easily, despite the Czechs playing with 10 men since the 66th minute. The regular 90 minutes finished in a goalless draw, repeating the scenario from the 1st meeting a week ago, but Fiorentina decided everything with goals from Nicolas Gonzales in the 92nd minute and Cristiano Biraghi in the 108th minute.

The English Premier League was extremely close to losing its only representative in Europe, as Aston Villa managed to score late in their visit to Lille. Matty Cash was the team’s hero, as his goal in the 87th minute put Villa 2:1 down on the night and equalized the aggregate score to 2:2, thus forcing extra-time. Lille and Aston Villa did not produce anything meaningful during the two 15-minute periods, and the winner had to be decided on penalties. Nabil Bentaleb and Benjamin Andre missed the 1st and 5th kicks for Lille, with Emiliano Martinez saving both, reproducing his heroics from Argentina’s 2022 World Cup triumph.

Olympiacos also needed penalties to reach the last-4 in the Europa Conference League. The first leg of their battle with Fenerbahce from a week ago ended in a 3:2 win, and last night the Greeks were 1:0 down after 90 minutes, with the game headed for extra-time. After 120 minutes of play, Irfan Kahveci’s goal remained the only one, and with the aggregate score set at 3:3, Fenerbahce and Olympiacos had to elect the winner on penalties. The Istanbul giants missed three times as Dusan Tadic, Cengiz Under, and Leonardo Bonucci were unable to put the ball in the back of the net. Olympiacos were also far from perfect but missed only two penalties to eventually triumph and qualify for the Europa Conference League semi-finals.

The last team there will be Club Brugge. The Belgians had no issues with PAOK and achieved a comfortable 0:2 away victory on Thursday and are through to the tournament’s last-4 after winning 3:0 on aggregate.

In the semi-finals, Aston Villa will play Olympiacos, and Fiorentina will come up against Club Brugge. The first games are scheduled for the 2nd of May and the return legs for a week later.