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SAFA’s Exit Europa

It was a disappointing night for three South Africans in the qualifying rounds of the UEFA Europa League on Thursday night as Tokelo Rantie, Sive Phekezela and Ricardo Nunes all saw their teams exit the competition.

For Nunes, his Slovakian side, Zilina entered their second leg qualifying match trailing by two goals to one, but any chance of reaching the next stage of the competition came to a holt when they conceded a 50th minute goal at home to Rijeka.

Nunes only played the final nine minutes of the match which did see Zilina manage a consolation goal in the 89th minute, but it was too little too late as they lost 3-2 on aggregate.

For Rantie, his Swedish outfit faced an uphill battle from the get go in their second leg qualifying match against Swansea City.

Malmo FF entered the match trailing 4-0 after their first leg encounter and despite constant pressure on the Swansea goal they were unable to pull any goals back.

Rantie was thrown on as a second half substitute, but he was also unable to make any sort of an impact as Malmo lost 4-0 on aggregate.

Phekezela’s Swedish side, Gefle, however, entered their match trailing by only a single goal after their first leg encounter away from home, but their chances of qualification were made near impossible as goals in the 41st and 50th minute saw their Azerbaijan option, Qarabag, take a 3-0 aggregate lead.

It was an unassailable lead for Phekezela, who came on as a second half substitute in the 74th minute, and his side who exited the Europa League tournament.

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