Europa Conference League knockout round play-off first legs: Immobile seals Lazio win, Fiorentina hit four
Thursday, February 16, 2023
Ciro Immobile scored for Lazio while Luka Jović struck twice as Fiorentina were the big winners in the UEFA Europa Conference League knockout play-off first legs.
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Seven of the eight ties had a first-leg winner on the opening night of the UEFA Europa Conference League knockout play-offs.
Braga 0-4 Fiorentina
A dominant performance from Fiorentina makes them huge favourites to progress from next week’s second leg. It took them until first-half stoppage time to go in front through a Luka Jović header, the Serbian sliding in a second after the restart. A late double from Arthur Cabral – the first a brilliant solo effort – rounded off a very comfortable night for the visitors.
Key stat: Jović is now the competition's top scorer, with his double taking him to six – making up the bulk of his ten goals in all competitions this season.
Trabzonspor 1-0 Basel
Substitute Jens Stryger Larsen pounced to give Trabzonspor a slender first-leg advantage against Basel in Turkey. The Danish international was quickest to react after Marwin Hitz was unable to hold Trézéguet's strike, following good work by Maxi Gómez. The hosts had several late chances to double their lead, with Trézéguet, Anastasios Bakasetas and Maxi Gómez all forcing saves from Hitz.
Key stat: Trabzonspor are unbeaten in their last 39 home matches across all competitions, winning 28.
Lazio 1-0 CFR Cluj
Lazio will take a narrow lead to Romania after they overcame the early dismissal of Patric to win in Rome. The Spanish defender was shown a straight red card after tripping Ermal Krasniqi as the CFR man ran through on goal after just 15 minutes. But the hosts still had the better possession and although they made several chances, just one of them counted as Ciro Immobile volleyed in during first-half stoppage time.
Key stat: Lazio are now unbeaten in eight home European games (W4 D4).
The second legs take place a week after the first, on 23 February. Winners of the ties earn a place in the round of 16 draw on 24 February, where they will be unseeded.
The seeded teams are AZ Alkmaar, Djurgården, İstanbul Başakşehir, Nice, Sivasspor, Slovan Bratislava, Villarreal, West Ham.
Best of the rest
- Partizan played for 40 minutes with ten men after Igor Vujačić's red card – but held on to win 1-0 at Sheriff thanks to Ricardo Gomes' goal on the stroke of half-time
- Angel Garcia scored six minutes from time as AEK Larnaca nicked a 1-0 victory over Dnipro-1, while Thiago struck in the ninth minute to give Ludogorets the advantage over Anderlecht.
- Six of the eight games finished 1-0 – and none of the eight fixtures featured a goal for both teams.
What are the knockout round play-offs?
Sixteen teams are involved in the UEFA Europa Conference League knockout round play-offs: the eight runners-up from the UEFA Europa Conference League group stage and the eight third-placed teams from the UEFA Europa League group stage.
Ties are played over two legs and will conclude on Thursday 23 February; the away goals rule has been abolished. The eight winners advance to the round of 16 draw on Friday 24 February (the eight group winners have already qualified for this); the eight play-off losers will no longer be involved in 2022/23 European competition.