It had gone midnight in Romania on Friday by the time the UEFA Europa League round of 32 concluded. That historic shoot-out involving FC Steaua Bucureşti and AFC Ajax tops UEFA.com's list of ten statistics of interest from Thursday's second legs.
1. After 108 previous knockout phase second legs – or finals – without one, the UEFA Europa League had its first penalty shoot-out as Steaua overcame Ajax 4-2 on spot kicks following a pair of 2-0 home wins.
2. Steaua were the only team to go through after losing the first leg. It was just the second time in the UEFA Europa League that a side had recovered from a two-goal first-leg deficit to qualify (the first being Fulham FC's comeback from 3-1 down to win 4-1 at home against Juventus in the 2009/10 round of 16).
3. FC Viktoria Plzeň and FC Girondins de Bordeaux joined FC Anji Makhachkala as the only clubs to have won all four home games in this season's competition. Bordeaux are the sole team yet to concede a goal on home turf. The three sides also triumphed in each of their home matches in the qualifying and play-off rounds.
4. Anji and Plzeň are the two longest-surviving teams in the competition, having entered in the second qualifying round.
5. Although it was insufficient to keep holders Club Atlético de Madrid in the tournament, Falcao's consolation strike in the 1-0 win at FC Rubin Kazan was his 31st UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League goal – taking him into second place outright in the all-time scorers' list.
6. With Atlético's 2-1 aggregate elimination, it is guaranteed there will be a new winner of the UEFA Europa League. The previous UEFA Cup winners left in the field are FC Zenit St Petersburg (2008), Tottenham Hotspur FC (1972, 1984) and FC Internazionale Milano (1991, 1994, 1998). Tottenham and Inter meet in the round of 16.
7. The Zenit v Liverpool FC tie was the only one of the 16 settled by the away goals rule. It was the 15th such outcome in the competition (the seventh in the round of 32) and the second time that Liverpool had fallen victim – after their extra-time defeat by Atlético in the 2009/10 semi-finals. Just one other side, Sporting Clube de Portugal, have been eliminated in this way twice.
8. Russia enjoyed a perfect round of 32, with all three representatives – Anji, Zenit and Rubin – making progress, while neighbours Ukraine endured the opposite fate as FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, FC Metalist Kharkiv and FC Dynamo Kyiv were eliminated without winning a game. Interest in the competition also ended for Belarus, Belgium, Greece and the Netherlands.
9. KRC Genk's unbeaten UEFA Europa League record was curtailed by their 2-0 home loss to VfB Stuttgart. Chelsea FC's decisive late equaliser at home to AC Sparta Praha leaves the London club as the only one of the UEFA Europa League's 132 participants never to have lost a match in the competition (albeit after just two games).
10. No team scored more than three goals in any of the 32 fixtures played, and the aggregate figure of 66 goals, at an average of 2.1 per game, was the lowest to date in a round of 32. There is plenty to look forward to in the last 16, however, as that stage has produced a mean of 2.8 goals a match in the last three seasons.
All references to the UEFA Europa League are group stage to final unless indicated otherwise.
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