Brighton get out of Europa League group on first European adventure, while West Ham also advance

Brighton and West Ham are guaranteed spots in the Europa League knockout round play-offs as they both won 1-0 on Thursday night.

The Seagulls lost against AEK Athens earlier in the season in their first ever European match but avenged the result with a crucial victory.

A draw against Marseille and two wins over Ajax put them in a very strong position to qualify out of Group B ahead of their trip to Greece.

Brighton made the trip the AEK Athens on Thursday night knowing a win would ensure they finished in the top two of the group.

And Joao Pedro once again proved to be the main man for Roberto De Zerbi and co. as his goal was enough to secure a narrow win.

The Brazilian scored his third Europa League penalty of the season in the 55th minute, his ninth goal for Brighton in total.

Such a result means they will now at least play in the knockout round play-offs, which will take place in mid-February.

However, they will progress to the last 16 completely with a win on matchday six against Marseille, who play Ajax later on Thursday evening.

Soucek’s late goal ensures West Ham go home with all three points

Over in Group A, West Ham are also guaranteed a spot in the play-offs courtesy of their 1-0 win away at Serbian side Backa Topola.

The Hammers will be looking to build upon their Europa Conference League success from last season and win the Europa League.

Their performance on Thursday night was disappointing to say the least but Tomas Soucek scored the winner in the 89th minute to save their blushes.

With Freiburg beating Olympiakos 5-0, they will compete against David Moyes’ side for the group’s top spot in two week’s time.

Whoever wins will advance to the last 16 of the Europa League but a draw would see West Ham finish above the German side having beaten them 2-1 on October 5.

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