Our latest loan round-up includes a Champions League night to remember for Mario Pasalic in Atalanta’s unlikely qualification for the last 16 and another Blue on target in the Europa League…
After losing their first three games of the group stage, few gave Atalanta much hope of qualifying for the last 16 in their maiden Champions League campaign. However, they went into their final match against Shakhtar Donetsk with an outside chance and Mario Pasalic (pictured top) helped them achieve a stunning 3-0 victory, poking home a free-kick from close range to put them two up with only 10 minutes remaining. Like Chelsea, they will be eagerly awaiting today’s draw for the last 16.
The Italian side came down to earth with a bang, though, as they lost 2-1 at Bologna in their next fixture. The Croatian midfielder started, and was booked, in a defeat which keeps them sixth in Serie A.
Ethan Ampadu was another in Champions League action this midweek, coming off the bench for his fifth appearance of the season for RB Leipzig as they drew 2-2 with Lyon, a result which took the Ligue 1 side through alongside the group winners. He then remained on the bench throughout his side’s 3-0 win at Fortuna Dusseldorf, for whom Lewis Baker was brought on as a second-half sub with his side already trailing by three.
There was also European progress for Kenedy, who was on target in Getafe’s 3-0 win over Krasnodar in a winner-takes-all match on matchday six of the Europa League group stage. The Brazilian winger came off the bench to score a late clincher, cutting onto his left foot and firing home a shot at the near post, to take the Spanish side through in second place behind Basel.
Elsewhere around Europe, Tiemoue Bakayako played the full 90 minutes of Monaco’s 0-0 draw with Angiers in France and in the Dutch second tier, Juan Castillo provided his fourth assist of the season in Ajax Under-21s’ 2-0 win at league leaders Cambuur and Ike Ugbo started Roda’s 2-2 draw against AZ Alkmaar Under-21s.
AROUND THE UK
Nathan Baxter recorded his first win as Ross County goalkeeper in his previous outing for the Staggies in the Scottish Premiership and now he has a second to go with it, along with a maiden clean sheet. The on-loan Blues keeper played his part with an excellent stop in the second half, laying the platform for Lee Erwin to net a stoppage-time winner.
Late goals cost Conor Gallagher and Charlton Athletic dearly this week, denying the Addicks an additional four points. A 92nd-minute winner from a Huddersfield Town side missing Trevoh Chalobah was followed up by an even later concession against Millwall. Lee Bowyer’s men had been set to record their first victory since mid-October, aided by Gallagher’s assist for Darren Pratley’s opener, but ultimately had to settle for a 2-2 draw.
Chalobah, meanwhile, was back in the Terriers’ starting line-up for their 1-1 draw at Wigan Athletic, for whom Dujon Sterling was on the bench. The full-back was also among the substitutes in midweek, but he was brought on for the final seconds of the Latics’ impressive 1-1 draw against Championship leaders West Brom on Wednesday night. There was also a midweek point for Reading against Barnsley, with Matt Miazga playing the full 90 for the Royals.
Dropping down a division to League One, there was disappointment for Richard Nartey as he could not prevent Burton Albion, whose away form this term has been excellent, slipping to defeat at top of the table Wycombe Wanderers. There was at least a bit of cheer for one of our loanees in League Two, however, as Josh Grant helped Plymouth to a 3-0 victory at home to 10-man Morecambe. That win keeps them within touching distance of a play-off spot.