Hoffenheim secure first Europa League berth with 1-1 draw against Cologne

AP, COLOGNE, Germany

Sun, Apr 23, 2017 - Page 11

Kerem Demirbay on Friday scored in the third minute of injury time to qualify TSG 1899 Hoffenheim for European soccer for the first time with a 1-1 draw at Cologne in the Bundesliga.

Demirbay’s late strike ensured third-place Hoffenheim cannot finish any lower than sixth, guaranteeing the side a spot in the UEFA Europa League next season, while the point might yet prove valuable in their quest for automatic UEFA Champions League qualification.

Cologne forward Yuya Osako’s botched clearance proved costly for his side — who had missed several chances to seal the result — when Niklas Suele somehow managed to get the ball to Demirbay, who fired into the left corner.

It had looked like Leon Bittencourt was about to do former club Borussia Dortmund a favor with his goal inside the hour mark when Jonas Hector found him free at the far post.



Paulo Henrique Ganso on Friday scored twice in his first start in more than three months to help Sevilla beat struggling Granada 2-0 in La Liga.

Ganso, the promising Brazilian midfielder who has yet to break through since joining the Spanish club this season, opened the scoring with a shot from inside the area less than five minutes into the match and increased the lead from close range shortly after halftime at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in Seville, Spain.

Granada, who have lost their eight past matches, stayed second-to-last in the 20-team standings, seven points from safety with five matches to go in the season.

“Mathematically we still haven’t been relegated, so it’s our obligation to give our lives in every match,” Granada defender David Lomban said. “We need to do that for the fans, for the people of Granada. Of course it’s difficult, but we must give everything we have until the final day.”

It was Granada’s second game with former Arsenal captain Tony Adams at the helm.

It was only the second time Ganso had scored for Sevilla. The other goal had come in a 9-1 rout of fourth-division club Formentera in the Copa del Rey last year.


Staff writer, with AFP, PARIS

In Tomblaine, France, AS Nancy-Lorraine and Olympique de Marseille played out a goalless draw at the Stade Marcel Picot.