Richard Jensen of Aberdeen was filled with joy as Luis Lopes (Duk) netted a vital goal to equalize the score at 2-2 in a UEFA Conference League group stage game against HJK Helsinki. Despite the draw, Aberdeen maintains its position in third place within Group G.
The game occurred amidst snowy weather, which posed an additional difficulty for both teams. HJK Helsinki initially secured the lead in the 16th minute courtesy of Hassane Bande, and later expanded their advantage in the 33rd minute with a precisely executed shot by Santeri Hostikka. Nevertheless, Aberdeen displayed determination and successfully countered in the 41st minute. Angus MacDonald skillfully penetrated the defense and netted an exceptional goal from outside the penalty area, instilling hope in his team. Shortly after, Duk further showcased his remarkable performance by scoring his fourth goal of the season with a header from a short distance early in the second half.
The match encountered a contentious moment when Aberdeen fans began hurling snowballs at HJK goalkeeper Niki Maenpaa. The severity of the situation escalated to the point where the stadium announcer contemplated calling off the game. Furthermore, the match was interrupted for a period of time after 77 minutes because of the intense snowfall, resulting in both teams having to temporarily exit the field.
In a different Europa Conference League game, Besiktas experienced a humiliating 5-0 loss on their home turf against Club Brugge. The visitors took the lead in the fourth minute through Casper Nielsen, setting the tone for the remainder of the match. Igor Thiago further extended Club Brugge’s lead with a calm finish, and he later scored another goal early in the second half. Besiktas’ woes were further exacerbated as Raphael Onyedika and Andreas Skov Olsen both scored, leaving the Turkish team still without a win in Group D. On the other hand, Brighton guaranteed their spot in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase by triumphing over AEK Athens with a 1-0 scoreline. Joao Pedro secured the lead for the Seagulls with a successful penalty, while AEK’s Mijat Gacinovic received a red card in the 65th minute, intensifying the difficulty for the Greek side. At the moment, Brighton holds the leading position in Group B, having accumulated 10 points.
Meanwhile, in Group A, West Ham successfully held onto their top spot by securing a late victory through a goal from Tomas Soucek. This win brought immense relief to West Ham’s fans who were traveling to support their team, especially considering the negative assessment of their performance by TNT Sports pundit and former West Ham player Joe Cole during halftime. Despite the criticism, West Ham managed to clinch the victory thanks to Soucek’s skillful volley in the 89th minute, assisted by Maxwel Cornet’s cross.