TEL-AVIV: Irish champions Dundalk saw their Europa League campaign come to an end with a 2-1 loss to Maccabi Tel Aviv in Netanya.
Dundalk had gone into the game with a chance of progressing from Group D but a penalty from Tal Ben Chaim and strike by Dor Micha, both after errors by Gary Rogers, condemned them to defeat.
Ultimately the result was academic as AZ Alkmaar’s victory over Zenit St Petersburg meant progress for either side was impossible, but Dundalk again did themselves proud in what has been a strong European campaign.
Stephen Kenny’s men did get on the scoresheet when Eli Dasa turned into his own net to make the score 1-1 midway through the first half.
But the Irish side could not get back into the game, despite some late pressure, after falling behind for a second time.
They left the field disappointed after Ciaran Kilduff put a header wide in injury but they will eventually reflect on a good campaign, in which they became the first Irish side to earn group points in the competition.
AZ progressed following a 3-2 victory against previously unbeaten Zenit.
Ben Rienstra and Ridgeciano Haps put the hosts 2-0 up at the break before Giuliano pulled one back for the Russian side.
Muamer Tankovic restored the two-goal cushion with Stijn Wuytens’ own goal just a consolation for Zenit.
Manchester United advanced to the last 32 with a 2-0 win over Zorya Luhanskin Ukraine.
The Red Devils knew that a draw would have been enough to guarantee their place in the next round but took all three points through second-half strikes from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
After a goalless first half, it only took three minutes for the deadlock to be broken when Mkhitaryan picked up the ball on the halfway line before weaving past two defenders and coolly slotting past Igor Levchenko.
Mikhail Sivakov went close to an equaliser with a close-range header which Sergio Romero brilliantly parried away before Ibrahimovic sealed the victory with a late breakaway goal.
Southampton crashed out after being held to a 1-1 draw at home to Hapoel Be’er Sheva.
Saints needed a goalless draw or a victory to advance to the knock-out stage but fell behind to Maor Buzaglo’s powerful effort in the 79th minute meaning Southampton had to scored twice in the last 11 minutes to progress.
Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk got an equaliser in the first minute of stoppage-time with a deflected effort before Maya Yoshida had the chance to win the match in the last few seconds with a header but was denied by David Goresh in the Hapoel goal.
Inter Milan finished off their campaign with a last-gasp 2-1 victory over Group K winners Sparta Prague at the San Siro.
The hosts opened the scoring in the 23rd minute after Andrea Pinamonti brilliantly brought down the ball down before laying it off to Eder who needed two chances to find the net.
Lukas Marecek levelled for Sparta with a looping header from 15 yards and they had the chance to take the lead from the penalty spot after Marco Andreolli brought down David Lafata.
Borek Dockal stepped up but Juan Carrizo produced a great save to tip the ball around the post before Eder snatched the three points with a last-minute winner.
Schalke lost their 100 per cent record after falling to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Salzburg.
Xaver Schlager put the hosts in front after heading in Valentino Lazaro’s right-wing cross in the first half with Josip Radosevic rounding off the victory for the Austrian side in time added on.
Ajax remain undefeated as they went through to the next phase following a 1-1 draw at Standard Liege.
Anwar El-Ghazi fired the Dutch side in front after racing onto a long ball from Donny van de Beek but Benito Raman equalised four minutes from time to share the spoils.
Ten-man Krasnodar went through to the last 32 despite falling to a 2-1 defeat at Nice.
The Russian side took the lead at the Allianz Riviera through Fedor Smolov’s 52nd-minute strike but his team were reduced to 10 men when Andreas Granqvist brought down Arnaud Lusamba in the area.
Alexy Bosetti dispatched the spot-kick to level the scores before Maxime Le Marchand powered in from eight yards to earn the Ligue 1 leaders just their second win in the Europa League this season.
Celta Vigo advanced to the knock-out stage with a 2-0 success at Panathinaikos.
John Guidetti headed in Hugo Mallo’s cross after four minutes to take the lead before Fabian Orellana’s penalty sealed the win.
St Etienne produced a stunning comeback to win 3-2 at Anderlecht and top Group C after six matches.
Alexandru Chipciu and Nicolae Claudiu Stanciu gave the hosts a 2-0 half-time lead and despite Henri Saivet missing a penalty early in the second half, a Alexander Soderlund brace and a Kevin Monnet-Paquet effort helped turn things around for the French side.
There were wins for Viktoria Plzen, APOEL, Fenerbahce, Mainz and Young Boys while Rapid Vienna drew 1-1 with Athletic Bilbao with Astra and Romaplaying out a goalless draw.
Sassuolo’s match with Genk was postponed due to fog and will be played on Friday.
Earlier in the day, former winners Shakhtar Donetsk went through to the knockout stages with a 100 per cent record following a 4-2 win over Braga.
Braces from Serhiy Kryvtsov and Taison earned the away side all three points with Nikola Stojiljkovic and Nikola Vukcevic replying for the Portuguese side, who still progressed despite the defeat.
Villarreal eventually overcame 10-man Steaua Bucharest 2-1 to book their place in the next round thanks to a last-gasp winner from Manu Trigueros.
Nicola Sansone had given the hosts the lead before Vlad Achim levelled for the Romanian side while Gabriel Tamas saw red with the scores at 1-1.
Ten-man Fiorentina advanced to the next round with a 2-1 win over Qarabag in Azerbaijan and Gent won 1-0 at Konyaspor
Osmanlispor went through as Group L winners after a 2-0 win over Zurichwhile PAOK advanced following a 2-0 success over Liberec in Greece.