UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE AC Milan secure last 16 spot despite Rennes defeat

AC Milan advanced to the round of 16 in the Europa League despite a 3-2 loss at Rennes in the second leg of their playoff on Thursday.

Milan, which won 3-0 at the San Siro last week, eliminated its French opponent on a 5-3 aggregate score. The Italian powerhouse, a seven-time European champion, has never won the second-tier Europa League or its predecessor, the UEFA Cup.

Midfielder Benjamin Bourigeaud’s hat trick put the hosts up three times with Milan quickly answering twice. Bourigeaud netted the opener in the 11th minute with a fierce right-footed shot from over 20 meters to beat goalkeeper Mike Maignan.

Forward Luka Jovic canceled it out 10 minutes later with a header off a cross by captain Theo Hernandez. Bourigeaud made it 2-1 early in the second from the penalty spot but Rafael Leao equalized after four minutes on a fine solo effort.

Bourigeaud sent Maignan the wrong way with another spot kick to make it 3-2. The eight runners-up in the Europa League group stage played the eight third-place teams from the Champions League group stage in the playoffs.

Dennis Mabuka

Dennis Mabuka is a seasoned Kenyan journalist with 18 years of experience covering sports events. He is currently a sport content creator with en.Africatopsports.com.

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