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Europa Conference League round of 16 second legs: Game-by-game preview

Get the lowdown on Thursday's seven matches as the 2022/23 UEFA Europa Conference League round of 16 concludes.

West Ham lead Larnaca 2-0 ahead of their round of 16 decider
West Ham lead Larnaca 2-0 ahead of their round of 16 decider

Gent have booked their quarter-final place, and on Thursday seven teams will join them. It is advantage West Ham and Lech Poznań heading into the second legs of the UEFA Europa Conference League round of 16, but even that pair with their two-goal leads know they're in for a tussle, with all ties far from over.

Get the lowdown on every game.

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Wednesday 15 March

İstanbul Başakşehir 1-4 Gent, agg: 2-5

Orban's record-breaking hat-trick

Thursday 16 March

Sivasspor vs Fiorentina (first leg: 0-1)

Vincenzo Italiano's team were deserved victors in Florence, but Sivasspor will be buoyed by the Viola's failure to make the most of several golden first-half opportunities. Had they been converted, it may have left the Turkish side with too big a mountain to climb. Instead, Rıza Çalımbay's charges can take inspiration from İstanbul Başakşehir, who inflicted Fiorentina's only European defeat of the campaign so far during the group stage.

Did you know?
No midfielder has scored more Europa Conference League goals this season than Fiorentina's Antonín Barák (four).

Highlights: Fiorentina 1-0 Sivasspor

Djurgården vs Lech (0-2)

With their domestic league season not starting until 1 April, Djurgården were ring rusty in the first leg. "It was obvious that Lech are in the middle of the season and in better condition than us," said co-coach Thomas Lagerlöf. That is perhaps why Lech boss John van den Brom is not reading much into the result. "We are in a good starting position," he said as he looked ahead to the second leg, perhaps aware that Djurgården have scored two or more goals in five of their six European home games this season.

Did you know?
Lech know how to contain teams on their travels: four of their past five away games in Europe have ended in draws.

Highlights: Lech 2-0 Djurgården

Slovan Bratislava vs Basel (2-2)

In these clubs' third meeting of the season, Slovan twice came from behind to draw in Basel. It preserved the Slovakian outfit's unbeaten record in the trilogy, but they were held 3-3 in the equivalent fixture during the group stage and a repeat of that would mean a penalty shoot-out. Basel boss Heiko Vogel will expect better in Bratislava, having branded their second-half display in the first leg "probably the worst from our side since I joined the team".

Did you know?
Before this season, Slovan had not made it to the spring stage of a UEFA club competition since they were beaten finalists in the 1969 European Cup Winners Cup.

Highlights: Basel 2-2 Slovan Bratislava

What next?

Winners of the ties earn a place in the quarter-final draw on Friday 17 March, which is an open draw with no seedings.

West Ham vs AEK Larnaca (2-0)

Europa League semi-finalists last season, West Ham may feel they have at least one foot in the Europa Conference League quarter-finals after Michail Antonio established a two-goal cushion in the first leg. José Luis Oltra had plenty to be proud of in AEK's performance in that initial meeting, but he knows his team must rewrite history to stage a comeback: Cypriot clubs' away record against their English counterparts is an uninspiring D2 L7.

Did you know?
West Ham are looking to make this their tenth straight win in UEFA club competition this season.

Highlights: AEK Larnaca 0-2 West Ham

AZ Alkmaar vs Lazio (2-1)

Ciro Immobile's absence may explain some of Lazio's disappointing finishing as they lost to AZ in Rome, days after a morale-boosting triumph against runaway Serie A leaders Napoli. Maurizio Sarri called the Dutch side's 2-1 success "a freak result" and the Bianconeri will need something similar in Alkmaar if they are to recover lost ground: AZ have not lost in their last 23 European home games (W15 D8).

Did you know?
AZ are unbeaten at home against Serie A clubs (W2 D1); the last team to beat them in Alkmaar in European competition was Lyon: 4-1 in February 2017.

Highlights: Lazio 1-2 AZ Alkmaar

Nice vs Sheriff (1-0)

With his team defending a 1-0 lead in France, Nice boss Didier Digard is in combative mood, saying of Moldovan champions Sheriff: "If they want to take something, they have to come and get it – we won't give it to them." Les Aiglons have certainly been hard to beat since their new coach arrived in January, but Real Madrid learned that Sheriff are not to be underestimated when they lost 2-1 at home to the Tiraspol side in the 2021/22 Champions League group stage.

Did you know?
In their only previous game in France, Sheriff drew 0-0 at Marseille in the 2012/13 Europa League play-offs.

Highlights: Sheriff 0-1 Nice

Villarreal vs Anderlecht (1-1)

Bereft for a while after going behind in the first leg, Anderlecht turned things around with a superb equaliser and a gutsy second-half performance. As a result, forward Islam Slimani is a true believer: "We can make it happen," he said. The Yellow Submarine have home advantage, but that may not mean much. "The reality is that all the games are complicated and, at this point, nobody is going to give anything away," explained coach Quique Setién.

Did you know?
Only one Belgian team has visited Villarreal, Club Brugge losing 2-1 in the 2010/11 Europa League group stage.

Highlights: Anderlecht 1-1 Villarreal

What is the round of 16?

The round pits the eight group winners from the Europa Conference League group stage against the eight sides that made it through the Europa Conference League knockout round play-offs.

Ties are played over two legs and conclude on Thursday 16 March; the away goals rule has been abolished. The eight winners advance to the quarter-finals; the eight defeated teams will no longer be involved in 2022/23 European competition.

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