Ajax, Athletic Bilbao secure Europa League spots after thrashing wins

BY foxsports • December 10, 2014

Ajax hammered APOEL Nicosia 4-0 on Wednesday to advance to the Europa League by finishing third in Champions League qualifying Group F.

Both sides had failed to qualify for the knockout stage of the Champions League before the match at Amsterdam Arena. Barcelona topped the group by beating Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 at Camp Nou.

Denmark midfielder Lasse Schone scored either side of halftime, with his first coming from the penalty spot, and Davy Klaassen headed the third after a mazy run by teenage winger Ricardo Kishna in the 53rd.

Poland striker Arkadiusz Milik made it 4-0 in the 74th to give Ajax its first Champions League win of the season and hand the Cypriots their second straight 4-0 defeat.

FC Porto 1 - Shakhtar Donetsk 1

Vincent Aboubakar scored a late equalizer to grab a 1-1 draw for FC Porto against Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday in their last Champions League Group H match, a game that was a formality as both clubs were already sure of a place in the knockout round.

The Cameroon striker's goal three minutes from the end cancelled out Taras Stepanenko's 50th-minute header from Bernard's corner.

The Stadium of the Dragon witnessed a low-key encounter, with both teams resting some regular starters and producing few scoring chances.

The Portuguese club, a two-time European champion, finished the group phase unbeaten on 14 points from six games.

Shakhtar ended with nine points and qualified for the knockout round for the third time.

Athletic Bilbao 2 - BATE 0

Athletic Club secured a place in the Europa League after two second-half goals saw them home 2-0 against Champions League Group H opponents BATE Borisov at San Mames.

Mikel San Jose's strike shortly after the restart put Bilbao on course to retain an interest in European competition this season.

And Markel Susaeta made sure of the victory with a late finish after making the most of superb approach work by Borja Viguera.

Both teams went into their final group game with no chance of last-16 qualification, but Bilbao knew that a draw would be enough to ensure they progressed to the Europa League, with the Champions League knockout phase places already filled by FC Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk.


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