Premier League sides West Ham United and Brighton have secured moves into the next round of the UEFA Europa League after securing respective wins away from home on Thursday.
While Brighton traveled to Greece to face AEK Athens, needing a win, West Ham went to Serbia to tackle BSC FC with the same aim.
The first leg at Amex Stadium between Brighton and AEK Athens in September produced a goal-fest, a five-goal thriller 3-2 in favor of the Greek.
However, the English side got their revenge, although without the big scoreline, winning 1-0 thanks to a 55th-minute penalty from Joao Pedro. It was the third penalty for Joao Pedro against the same club in the Europa League, scoring all three.
The win puts Roberto De Zerbi’s top of the table with ten points from five games and one ahead of Marseille.
The Seagulls will host the French team on December 14, and whoever wins the game will qualify as the group winner.
Elsewhere, West Ham United completed a double against Serbian side BSC with a 1-0 win in Serbia on Thursday. The first leg ended 3-1 in favour of the Hammers in London, but this time, the Londoners were able to keep a clean sheet.
Scorer of Saturday’s 91st-minute winner against Burnley in the Premier League, Tomáš Souček, came up big for West Ham again on Thursday with an 89th-minute winner against TSC.
For the third year in a row, David Moyes has now led West Ham out of the group stages in Europe.
West Ham United remain top of the group with 12 points. German team Freiburg is on 2nd due to an inferior goal difference, and both sides will clash in the final group match to decide who tops the group.
West Ham United will face Crystal Palace in the Premier League this weekend.
Daniel Ademiju Idowu