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R. Standard de Liège ensured their place in the UEFA Europa League round of 16 with a hard-fought 0-0 draw against FC Salzburg at the Stadion Salzburg.
Despite a spirited performance in front of fervent home support, the Austrian champions failed to capitalise on their two away goals from the first leg. Standard striker Dieudonné Mbokani came closest to scoring when his first-half header rebounded off a post, but ultimately the scores remained level, sending the visitors through 3-2 on aggregate.
Following a cagey start it was the home side who threatened first when Marc Janko's early strike was comfortably held by Sinan Bolat. With Salzburg needing to attack, the visitors were content to await the chance to counter. Still, as the game gathered pace it was Huub Stevens' side who looked the more likely to register, Dušan Švento's fierce left-footed drive forcing a near-post save from Bolat.
Salzburg continued to press with Janko heading a Simon Cziommer cross comfortably over shortly after Švento had had another powerful effort blocked by the impressive Mohamed Sarr. Indeed, it took Domenico D'Onofrio's visiting charges until the final ten minutes of the half to spring to life, Milan Jovanović firing their first shot on target tamely into the arms of Eddie Gustafsson before forcing the Swedish shot-stopper to tip over his well-taken free-kick moments later. Igor De Camargo and Mbokani both sent headers goalwards before the break, the latter striking a post with Gustafsson helpless.
Chances were proving few and far between, but the Bulls finally troubled their opponents' defence shortly after the hour when Ibrahim Sekagya almost caught out Bolat with a sizzling cross from the right. As the frustration grew for Salzburg, it was Standard who finished the stronger and now face Greek giants Panathinaikos FC in the last 16.
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