BRIAN SCIARETTA - Thursday, July 12, 2012
Etchu Tabe and KuPS advanced to the second round along with Giuseppe Funicello and Thor Akureyi who crushed Bohemians of Ireland, but Stabaek were eliminated at the hands of JJK.
Llanelli 1 - 1 KuPS
KuPS are off to the second qualifying round of the Europa League after a draw on the road against Llanelli was enough for a 3-2 win on aggregate.
After a scoreless half, Luke Bowen put the Welsh-based club on top in the game when he was awarded a penalty after being brought down in the box. Bowen took the penalty himself and easily buried it for a 1-0 lead.
In the 59th minute, Aleksi Paananen equalized for KuPS when he capitalized on a goalkeeping error from Llanelli's Craig Morris. On the play, a ball was swung into the box that Morris was unable to handle. It bounced to Paananen who sent home a low shot to even the score at 1-1.
Following last week's 2-1 at home, KuPS advances to the second round with a 3-2 aggregate win.
American defender Etchu Tabe went a full 90 for KuPS.
In the next round they face Maccabi Netanya of Israel.
Thor Akureyi 5 - 1 Bohemians
After a scoreless draw in the first leg of the series in Ireland, Thor cruised to an easy win and advanced to the second round of Europa qualifying.
Fullback Giuseppe Funicello, who is expecting his American citizenship in the near future, went a full 90 for Thor.
Bohemians actually took the lead early with a goal from Dave Scully in the 23rd minute when he pounced on a loose ball after a defensive error. That however was the only bright spot in the game for Bohemians.
Thor equalized in the 36th minute when Sigurdur Kristjansson took advantage of a defensive error from Owen Heary. On the play Funicello sent in a header but Heary fell down trying to clear the ball to safety and Kristjansson was there to take advantage with an easy shot to even the score.
Three minutes later in the 39th, Orri Hjaltalin put the hosts ahead for good when he was left alone inside the box and was able to easily head a Kristjansson cross past Bohemian keeper Andy McNulty.
In the second half, Kevin Feely gifted Thor another goal in the 50th minute when he headed the ball into his own net on a corner to give the Icelanders a 3-1 advantage.
Kristjansson picked up his second goal of the game in the 73rd minute when he converted at Armann Aevarsson cross from close range for a 4-1 lead and in the third minute of stoppage time, Kristjansson completed his hat trick when he scored from a tight angle on the right side past McNulty for the resounding win.
With the aggregate win, Thor advance to the second qualifying round against Czech Republic's FK Mlada Boleslav.
The first leg will be in Prague on July 19.
Stabaek 3 - 2 JJK
After a 2-0 loss in the first let to JJK in Finland, Stabaek were able to return home for a win in the second leg. The one goal margin of victory was not enough, however, and Stabaek were eliminated from the Europa League.
2010 US World Cup veteran Ricardo Clark started, but was subbed out in the 42nd minute after picking up a knock. Meanwhile US Under-20 central defender Sean Cunningham played the entire 90 minutes.
Christer Kleiven opened the scoring for Stabaek when he volleyed home a hard cross from inside the box into the top of the net past JJK keeper Janne Korhonen for a 1-0 lead.
In the 45th minute Holland's Jordy Van Gelderen equalized for JJK when he sent a low shot off a corner that trickled past Stabaek keeper Mande Sayouba to even the score at 1-1.
In first half stoppage time, Stabaek took the lead after they were awarded a penalty. Mads Stokkelien elected to take the kick and he sent the ball in the opposite direction from Korhonen for a 2-1 lead.
In the 51st minute, Mikko Innanen equalized again for JJK on a fantastic goal. After a brilliant dribbling display on the right side, Juha Pasoja sent in a low cross that found Patrick Poutiainen who laid the ball off for Innanen. Innanen made no mistake and fired home a low shot past Sayouba to even the score at 2-2.
In the 65th minute, Stabaek took the lead for a final time when Bjarte Haugsdal moved into the middle, look a long pass, and volley it past Korhonen for a 3-2 lead.
For Stabaek, their 3-2 win was not enough to erase the 2-0 deficit from the first leg. Currently sitting in last place in the Norwegian league, Stabaek's Europa League run run is over after just one round.