Final places up for grabs in Europa League
10 December 2015, 15:01
Paris - AFP Sports picks out the key ties in Europa League action heading into the sixth and final round of group matches on Thursday.
Fenerbahce (TUR) v Celtic (SCO)
Group A is still in the balance as Istanbul side Fenerbahce can both be knocked out or top the group when they take on eliminated Scottish club Celtic in Turkey. Ajax must beat qualified Norwegian club Molde and hope Fenerbahce lose if they want to snatch the second spot in the pool. Fenerbahe midfielder Mehmet Topal explained the importance of the occasion. "The Celtic game is one of the most important of the season for us," he told Uefa.com. "There's a chance we could top the group if we beat them." Molde come into matchday six with 10 points and are safely into the knockout stages while Fenerbahce are on eight, Ajax six and Celtic two.
Slovan Liberac (CZE) v Marseille (FRA)
The Czech Cup holders know they must beat former finalists Marseille in Liberec to join Portuguese side Braga as the two qualified clubs from Group F. The Velodrome side can still pinch top spot in the group if they win in the Czech Republic and Braga lose to already eliminated Groningen but a draw will also take Michel's side through. Liberec coach Jindrich Trpisovsky put matters into perspective after the team's troubles last season. "After last season, when Slovan avoided relegation only towards the end of the campaign, a game against Marseille with a chance to qualify for the knockout stages feels like science fiction."
Sporting Lisbon (POR) v Besiktas (TUR)
UEFA Cup runners-up in 2005, Sporting Lisbon have given themselves a chance to go through after winning in Moscow in the last round against Lokomotiv. A win against Besiktas will take them through to the last 32 while the Turks only need a draw. "We achieved what we needed to in Moscow - we had to win to keep fighting and we did," said Sporting coach Jorge Jesus. "Now we face a real final against Besiktas." Lokomotiv are currently second on eight points and one behind Besiktas while Sporting are on seven. The Russian outfit can guarantee their passage with a victory while a draw would also be enough unless Besiktas lose, in which case overall goal difference would determine which of those two teams advances. However, defeat against already eliminated Skenderbeu could seriously damage Lokomotiv's chances.
Tottenham (ENG) v Monaco (FRA)
Ligue 1 side Monaco cannot control their own destiny and need a win at already qualified Tottenham to overtake second-placed Anderlecht who come into Group J action with a one-point advantage. The Belgian side can still go through with a draw at home to newcomers Qarabag but should the Azerbaijani club win and Monaco not, they will snatch second spot having obtained more points in matches among the three teams in question. "We have a chance of qualifying, but, frankly, it is only a slim one," said Qarabag coach Gurban Gurbanov. "It will be very difficult - we don't have enough experience at this level." Spurs need a point to guarantee top spot at White Hart Lane.
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