Belgium will have 5 clubs in the European group stage, which is a first since the creation of the present Europa League in 2004. 4 clubs will play the Europa League, with Club Brugge in the Champions League.
AA Gent had the toughest challenge, defending a 2-1 bonus as they travelled to Skopje to face KF Shkendija of FYR Macedonia. One goal would sink the East Flemings, but AA Gent had everything under control.
It was Mali striker Kalifa Coulibaly who broke the deadlock with 2 goals, his 4th and 5th European goal this season. Coulibaly always shines in Europe; he made the 2-1 in extra time against Shkendija last week, and also had 2 goals in AA Gent's successful Champions League campaign last season. In Skopje, AA Gent eventually took it 0-4.
Jamaican sensation Leon Bailey to stay in Limburg
KRC Genk had managed a 2-all draw at Lokomotiva Zagreb last week and were more comfortable in their own Luminus Arena. Genk were never in trouble and took it 2-0. Jamaican sensation Leon Bailey made it 2-0. The young striker, who attracted the attention of various top teams, is believed to stay another season with Genk after all.
Anderlecht had downed Slavia Prague 0-3 in the Czech Republic last week and added another 3-0 win yesterday to take it 6-0 on aggregate. Yesterday's win included two penalties. Anderlecht are expected to sell defender Kara Mboj to Swansea for 7 million in the coming days, while striker Idrissa Sylla will not go to Wolverhampton after all, according to press reports.
Standard and Brugge make it 5
Cup winners Standard de Liège were automatically qualified for the Europa League group phase. Club Brugge already had their ticket for the Champions League group phase.
The Europa League draw was made this afternoon, and this is the result:
Group C: Anderlecht, Saint-Etienne, Mainz, Qabala
Group F: Athletic de Bilbao, KRC Genk, Rapid Vienna, Sassuolo
Group G: Ajax Amsterdam, Standard de Liège, Celta de Vigo, Panathinaikos
Group H: Shakhtar Donetsk, Braga, AA Gent, Konyaspor