(Reuters) – Arsenal earned a 1-0 victory at Bodo/Glimt on Thursday to make it three Europa League wins in a row as they took another step towards securing top spot in Group A.
Real Betis, Fenerbahce, Rennes and Freiburg all secured top two finishes, which guarantee at least a knockout round playoff place.
In Group C, Betis drew 1-1 with AS Roma after a goal from Sergio Canales was cancelled out by Andrea Belotti early in the second half.
However, it was enough for the LaLiga side to secure a top-two position while Roma have a challenging task ahead as they are equal with Ludogorets on four points having played one game more.
Arsenal took the lead in the 24th minute when Bukayo Saka’s deflected shot inside the box caught Glimt goalkeeper Nikita Khaikin off guard and bounced inside the lower left post.
Mikel Arteta’s team enjoyed possession in the first half and dominated the game, with Glimt struggling to build up momentum.
The hosts showed more aggression in the second half as they were roared on by their enthusiastic crowd and created several half-chances in the first 20 minutes after halftime.
However, Saka’s strike was enough to win the game as neither team managed to find clear-cut opportunities at either end of the pitch in a largely uneventful game.
Fenerbache and Rennes will finish in the two first places of Group B after their respective victories. Fenerbache won 2-1 at AEK Larnaca, while Christopher Wooh scored to help Rennes to a 1-0 victory in Krakow against Dynamo Kyiv.
In Group D, a hat-trick from SC Braga’s Vitor Oliveira was not enough to secure a win at Union SG as the teams drew 3-3. The Belgian side can secure a knockout playoff place if Union Berlin do not win against Malmo later on Thursday.
Group F is still wide open after Feyenoord and Midtjylland drew 2-2 in Rotterdam.
Freiburg made it four wins out of four at Nantes with a 4-0 victory and are now confirmed to finish in the top two of Group G. Qarabag and Olympiacos fought out a 0-0 draw in Azerbaijan. The Greek side can only aim for a place in the Europa Conference League, awarded to the team who finish third.
(Reporting by Tommy Lund in Gdansk; Editing by Christian Radnedge)