Europa League

Aniekpeno Udoh’s last-minute goal sends KuPS to Europa League third round

Aniekpeno Udoh breaks seventh game goal drought, Usman Sale also on target

Nigeria striker, Aniekpeno Udoh was the hero for his Finnish championship team Kuopio Ball Club in their UEFA Europa League qualification second-round win over Slovan Bratislava.

In the buildup to the game, Slovan Bratislava were dubbed favourite to progress but met stiff resistance from a determined KuPS who won the match 4-3 on penalties after the game ended 1-1 after 120 minutes of play.

Slovan Bratislava took the lead in the 111th minute of extra time through Zan Medved but were denied victory in the last minute of the match.

Substitute Aniekpeno Udoh (87) equalised for the Yellow Blacks with a fierce shot in the last kick of the match to send KuPS to the Third Qualifying Round.

Udoh scored Kuopion’s second spot-kick as the Finnish champions triumphed 4-3 to progress to the next stage of the UEFA Europa League.

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Speaking to the club’s official channel, a joyous Ville Saxman the team had a great game.

“In the first half we got the press to work well and we created good chances. We defended well and the opponent was left in few places, goalkeeper Otso Virtanen played a great game,” the midfielder said.

“In the second half, we were more on the defensive. In the end, we got to the levels and reached the penalties. In extra time the opponent was able to drum more the ball in European games and now we have shown that we can turn games around for us too.”

Head coach Arne Erlandsen was pleased with the victory: “This was a good match from both teams. We won deservedly, this was a very good match. We are happy with what the team presented today. We played very well and the players did the things on the field that we wanted,” the head coach said.

“We created a lot of situations especially in the first half and the defensive play was better. This match was completely international paced. The players are in a bad shape and we have no problem playing such matches in a row. This is perhaps our best match this season.

“We are happy with the team defense and the high press worked well and we want to perform in the same way in Veikkausliiga. Next week we have a new match ahead of us and it is a good thing for the whole Finnish football that the Finnish team will succeed.”

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