Bratislava misses Europa League playoffs after loss to Besiktas

Source: Xinhua| 2019-11-29 09:24:30|Editor: Yurou
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BRATISLAVA, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- If Slovan Bratislava football club wanted to keep its chances of advancing into the Europa League playoffs alive, it had to defeat Besiktas Istanbul on Thursday and hope the other Group K match did not end in a tie.

Exactly that happened, and Bratislava also lost to Besiktas 1-2 despite leading after the first half. The team from Slovakia's capital will, therefore, bid farewell to the second-tier European cup after the next and final round of matches on December 12.

After a slow start, Bratislava waited for its very first chance to strike until the 35th minute and managed to capitalize on it when Vernon De Marco's center pass found an open Erik Daniel who had no trouble opening the score.

The visitors' top-scorer Andraz Sporar failed to stretch the lead to two late in the first half, sending the ball past Loris Karius but also the goal. Besiktas' goalie denied Daniel his second goal of the night five minutes into the second half and also made an instinctive save on David Holman's set-piece effort.

The home team was close to tying things up in the 73rd minute but Umut Nayir's shot bounced off the crossbar. Moments later, the fans finally erupted into cheers when Enzo Roco redirected Georges-Kevin N'Koudou's center into Bratislava's net with a header, 1-1.

Besiktas immediately ramped up the pressure and put Bratislava's goalie Dominik Greif to work. The increased scoring efforts were rewarded two minutes into extra-time when Abdoulay Diaby got fouled and Adem Ljajic put Besiktas into a 2-1 lead on a penalty kick, securing its first Group A victory.

The Portuguese team Sporting Braga leads Group K with 11 points after ending the match against the Wolverhampton Wanderers in a 3-3 tie in the other Thursday fixture. Their opponents are in second place and both secured a spot in the Europa League playoffs. Bratislava is third with 4 points, Besiktas last with 3, both without a chance of advancing.