Union Saint-Gilloise book place in Europa League knockout round

Union Saint-Gilloise book place in Europa League knockout round
Union's players celebrate qualifying for knockout stages after beating Swedish side Malmo Fotbollforening, Thursday 27 October 2022 in Malmo. Credit: Belga / Laurie Dieffembacq

On Thursday evening, Union Saint-Gilloise clinched the top spot of their Europa League group with a 0-2 win against Swedish side Malmö, with the team now securing their place in the next round of the competition. 

When the Brussels side left for Sweden on Thursday, they knew that a win against Malmö would see them come top of their Europa League group and would see them book a direct spot into the competition's round of 16.

This is due to the competition's round of 16 being made up of, on one side those having clinched top spot in their Europa League and on the other those, either second place in a Europa League group or third place in a Champions League group, having won a so-called knockout play-off.

Credit: Belga / Laurie Dieffembacq

Despite this added pressure, it only took Union 10 minutes to grab the lead on on Swedish soil, when Teddy Teuma tapped the ball beyond Malmö's keeper, after being assisted by Lazare Amani.

Both players combined once more just before the stroke of half time, after striker Dante Vanzeir had his shot parried by the keeper, with Teuma handing Amari the favour by assisting him to make it 2-0.

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After the break, the home side failed to score an equaliser with Union holding on to win the game 0-2 and secure first place in group D, with 13 points out of 15.

Union's head coach Karel Geraerts celebrates with the fans. Credit: Belga / Laurie Dieffembacq

Following the match, Union's head coach Karel Geraerts said that his side deserved to win the game as "we got the result in the first half and then finished it off in the second half."

He expressed his joy at making it into the round of 16 given that "two years ago, a lot of our guys, including myself were in Division 1B (the second tier of Belgian football)."

Credit: Belga / Laurie Dieffembacq

Union Saint-Gilloise will play Union Berlin in Leuven in the final game of the group stage on 3 November at 20:00. They will have to wait to find out who they can play in the next round.

Teams who finished third in the Champions League group stages will be added in the knockout round of the Europa League. If they were to draw one of these teams, Union could potentially face the likes of Barcelona, Juventus or Ajax.

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