UEFA.com works better on other browsers
For the best possible experience, we recommend using Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

Europa League knockout round play-off second legs: Game-by-game preview

With spots in the round of 16 on the line, dive deeper into the storylines surrounding the 2022/23 UEFA Europa League knockout round play-off deciders.

Salzburg hold a 1-0 lead over Roma after the first leg
Salzburg hold a 1-0 lead over Roma after the first leg FC Red Bull Salzburg via Getty I

Several of the UEFA Europa League knockout round play-offs hang in the balance as the likes of Barcelona, Manchester United, Roma and Ajax all vie to book their place in the last 16. Get the lowdown on every game.

Manchester United vs Barcelona (first leg: 2-2)

Red Devils boss Erik ten Hag praised his team's dominance against "the number one in Spain" in the thrilling first-leg encounter, but was left rueing his charges' finishing at the Camp Nou. "In such a game," he lamented, "when you create five, seven clear chances, you have to finish more of them."

Worryingly for United, Xavi Hernández's side are enjoying life on the road, posting nine successive away victories, while the Old Trafford outfit had a run of 13 home wins ended by a 2-2 draw versus Leeds on 8 February.

Did you know?
Barcelona have lost only one of their last 11 UEFA club competition matches against United (W5 D5).

Highlights: Barcelona 2-2 Man United

Nantes vs Juventus (first leg: 1-1)

Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri billed this second leg as "playing a final" after Ludovic Blas polished off a lightning-quick counter to silence the Juve faithful in Turin. The Bianconeri coach was exasperated that his charges were unable to build upon Dušan Vlahović's opener, saying the second leg against a side 109 places below them in the club coefficient rankings "won't be easy".

Antoine Kombouaré's Nantes will be aiming for a repeat of the last encounter between these two sides at the Stade de la Beaujoire, when the hosts triumphed 3-2 in a UEFA Champions League semi-final second-leg fixture in April 1996.

Did you know?
Juventus have won just one of their last nine UEFA competition matches (L6 D2).

Midtjylland vs Sporting CP (first leg: 1-1)

Sporting captain Sebastián Coates conjured a last-gasp leveller to prevent Rúben Amorim's men from suffering a shock defeat in the first leg. The hosts had been trailing after Egyptian international Emam Ashour, on as a 67th-minute substitute, marked his Midtjylland debut just ten minutes later with a piece of quick thinking following a mix-up in the home defence.

That goal left Amorim bemoaning a drop in belief following a promising opening to the match, though he was eager to stress it is his task to turn things around. "We started well, but we lost confidence throughout the game," said the Sporting coach. "But I can't accuse the players of anything. Just that we are not playing well, but that is my responsibility and we have to change that."

Did you know?
Sporting are unbeaten in their five UEFA club competition away matches against Danish clubs (W3).

Highlights: Sporting CP 1-1 Midtjylland

Rennes vs Shakhtar Donetsk (first leg: 1-2)

Shakhtar boss Igor Jovićević insisted there was "life after Mudryk" after the Chelsea winger's replacement, Dmytro Kryskiv, struck the first-leg opener in Warsaw and was involved in the build-up to winning the penalty that doubled the Pitmen's advantage.

Jovićević excused the Ukrainian Premier League outfit for running out of steam in the second half, in what was their first competitive match in almost three months, with Karl Toko Ekambi's volley halving the deficit just before the hour mark. But that goal has left Rennes' Cameroonian international forward confident ahead of the return fixture: "The second half was much better. Now we have the game at home and want to take advantage of it. We shall improve in some aspects and I believe we can do it."

Did you know?
Rennes' 3-1 reverse against LOSC Lille on 4 February ended a run of 13 matches without defeat for Les Rouge et Noir at Roazhon Park (W11).

What next?

Winners of the ties earn a place in the round of 16 draw on Friday 24 February, where they will be unseeded.

The seeded teams are Arsenal, Betis, Fenerbahçe, Ferencváros, Feyenoord, Freiburg, Real Sociedad, Union Saint-Gilloise.

Monaco vs Leverkusen (first leg: 3-2)

Monaco's German goalkeeper Alexander Nübel believes there are more twists to come in this tie, despite Axel Disasi's stunning added-time winner capping the Ligue 1 side's comeback in the first leg. An own goal from Nübel's opposite number, Lukas Hradecky, had given Monaco an early advantage, but that was soon wiped out in the space of 11 second-half minutes.

Nübel is urging his team-mates to be cautious in the return fixture at the Stade Louis II, stating: "The big thing we need to take from this game is that the tie isn't over yet. We're pleased to take an advantage home with us for the second leg and need to be just as strong as we were [in the first]."

Did you know?
Leverkusen have emerged victorious in just two of their nine UEFA competition encounters away to French sides (D3 L4).

Highlights: Leverkusen 2-3 Monaco

Union Berlin vs Ajax (first leg: 0-0)

John Heitinga's winning start as Ajax coach was brought to an end in the opening leg as the Godenzonen struggled to break down a resolute Union Berlin outfit.

The Bundesliga title challengers prevented the Amsterdam club from producing an attempt on target for only the second time in a match across all competitions since the start of the 2014/15 campaign.

Ajax defender Calvin Bassey praised the German high-fliers, insisting the Eredivisie club must find a way to unlock that stubborn defence: "They're a good team, with good players; they're fighters. We've got to find a way to break them down."

Did you know?
Union Berlin are the first German side to keep a clean sheet against Ajax in Amsterdam in UEFA competition.

PSV vs Sevilla (first leg: 0-3)

Half-time substitute Lucas Ocampos was the inspiration behind Los Blanquirrojos' comprehensive victory at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán, doubling the home side's advantage with an impressive finish soon after coming on and swiftly assisting Nemanja Gudelj for the third.

Ocampos is back in the Sevilla fold after an unsuccessful loan spell with PSV's Eredivisie rivals Ajax, where he played just 114 minutes. Understandably, his goal – his first in Sevilla colours in nearly a year – was a memorable one. "It will stay with me, this goal," he said. "It had a bit of everything – of anger, joy, pain, happiness."

Did you know?
Sevilla are the most successful side in this competition's history, lifting the trophy on six occasions.

Highlights: Sevilla 3-0 PSV

Roma vs Salzburg (first leg: 0-1)

Salzburg skipper Andreas Ulmer declared that his side will travel to the Italian capital with "a good feeling" following their slender first-leg win, secured thanks to Nicolás Capaldo's late header. Capaldo's 88th-minute decider came shortly after Philipp Köhn had diverted Andrea Belotti's strike onto the woodwork, the Swiss goalkeeper having earlier performed heroics to prevent Tammy Abraham from putting the Giallorossi in front.

Roma boss José Mourinho was left with no illusions as he aims to win this competition for a third time as manager. "Now we have to win by one to go to extra time and by two to progress," said the Portuguese, who triumphed with Porto in 2002/03 and Manchester United in 2016/17. "That's it."

Did you know?
Köhn became the first goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet against Roma in 34 UEFA competition fixtures.

What are the knockout round play-offs?

There are 16 teams involved in the UEFA Europa League knockout round play-offs: the eight runners-up from the UEFA Europa League group stage and the eight third-placed teams from the UEFA Champions League group stage.

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.

Get the Europa app!