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Europa Conference League stats dive: Alternative stars of the knockout round play-off first legs

Who made the most saves, crosses, clearances, ball recoveries and completed passes in the knockout round play-off first legs?

See some of the big storylines of the first legs in the play-off round.
Europa Conference League Trendetters

UEFA.com has a treasure trove of statistics covering many aspects of play to enhance the UEFA Europa Conference League, Europe's newest club competition.

In this piece, presented by Swissquote, we sift through the data to see who earned top billing across a number of match-defining metrics.

Check out the Conference League stats


Most passes completed

Highlights: Celtic 1-3 Bodø/Glimt
Highlights: Celtic 1-3 Bodø/Glimt

108: Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic)
107: Carl Starfelt (Celtic)
89: Callum McGregor (Celtic)
87: Jacob Rasmussen (Vitesse)
81: Jannik Vestergaard (Leicester)

The concept of "passing your way out of trouble" took something of a hit in the first legs of the knockout round play-offs, with seven of the top-ten passers (including all of the top four) ending up on the losing side. Celtic (3-1 losers at home against Bodø/Glimt) accounted for three of those players, with three more coming from Vitesse (2-1 losers at Rapid Wien). Leicester's three-man contingent got more reward for their distribution, the Foxes securing the biggest win of the night: 4-1 at home against Randers.

Crosses completed

Highlights: Rapid Wien 2-1 Vitesse
Highlights: Rapid Wien 2-1 Vitesse

4: Josip Juranović (Celtic)
4: Jota (Celtic)
4: Maximilian Wittek (Vitesse)
3: Marko Vešović (Qarabağ)
3: Andrija Živković (PAOK)

If Thursday's games didn't always reward accurate passing, they were even less kind to players who made accurate crosses. The only five players who managed to send in more than two successful balls during the course of the evening all ended up losing. Josip Juranović and Jota peppered the Bodø/Glimt box with incisive crosses, but like Maximilian Wittek, Marko Vešović and Andrija Živković, they earned little tangible reward.

Balls recovered

Highlights: Sparta Praha 0-1 Partizan
Highlights: Sparta Praha 0-1 Partizan

13: Çağlar Söyüncü (Leicester)
10: Philipp Max (PSV Eindhoven)
10: Josip Juranović (Celtic)
10: Dávid Hancko (Sparta Praha)

In all-action terms, Leicester defender Çağlar Söyüncü and Celtic right-back Josip Juranović scored high this week; Çağlar also featured in the top ten for passing accuracy and clearances, while Juranović was first in the crossers' ranking too. The Foxes' 4-1 victory against Randers was doubly satisfying since it brought an end to a five-game winless run in domestic games, including a shock FA Cup exit to near-neighbours Nottingham Forest.

Clearances

Highlights: PSV 1-0 Maccabi Tel-Aviv
Highlights: PSV 1-0 Maccabi Tel-Aviv

11: Marius Høibråten (Bodø/Glimt)
9: Henrik Dalsgaard (Midtjylland)
9: Idan Nachmias (Maccabi Tel-Aviv)
8: Çağlar Söyüncü (Leicester)
8: Emanuel Aiwu (Rapid Wien)

It was backs-to-the-wall stuff for plenty of sides this week, Bodø/Glimt's eye-catching win at Celtic Park owing much to the ability of defenders like Marius Høibråten to bail them out when it seemed they were in danger of being overrun. Henrik Dalsgaard's clearances helped Midtjylland earn a narrow win against PAOK, while Maccabi Tel-Aviv's 1-0 loss at PSV Eindhoven was hardly a disaster as their opponents face a trip to Bloomfield for the return.

Most saves

Highlights: Leicester 4-1 Randers
Highlights: Leicester 4-1 Randers

12: Patrik Carlgren (Randers)
5: Luka Gugeshashvili (Qarabağ)
5: Daniel Peretz (Maccabi Tel-Aviv)
5: Nikita Haikin (Bodø/Glimt)
4: Paul Gartler (Rapid Wien)

Randers lost 4-1 at Leicester but apparently loved the experience, goalscorer Vito Hammershøj-Mistrati saying: "Their fans, our fans – the whole vibe was just amazing. I really enjoyed playing here, except for the last 30 minutes." No Randers player left an impression quite like their Swedish goalkeeper Patrik Carlgren, who came to their rescue a dozen times, more or less keeping them in the game until the latter stages.

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