With Davy Roef as hero: AA Gent survives penalty shootout just like Anderlecht and qualifies for 1/8th finals Conference League

AA Gent advances to the 1/8th finals of the Conference League. It knocked Qarabag on penalties.

Six years ago, on February 23, 2017, a Ghent fairytale unfolded in Wembley. In the 1/16th finals of the Europa League, the Buffalos stunted against Tottenham in the Europa League. Six years later, Ghent again faced a tough task: recovering from the 1-0 defeat of the first leg against the tough Qarabag. This time with a place for the 1/8th final of the Conference League at stake.

After a few minutes it could already be time for books for AA Gent. Mustafazade was completely free to head a cross towards goal. The crossbar saved the Buffalos, who escaped unscathed. But just like in the first leg, Ghent did not start the match sharp enough.

Qarabag came out sharper and was firmer in the duels, while the home team dealt in bad passes. Also in the second half it was Qarabag who came out the best in the dressing room, but as the match progressed, we got to see a different Gent. Fofana was industrious and Ghent actually seized a real opportunity.

Faith began to grow. The bet paid off, as substitute Gift Orban then put the 1–0 on the scoreboard. The winter acquisition initially got some rest, but also as a substitute, the 20-year-old Nigerian proved to be of gold value.

Ghent then collapsed again and so there were extra times. The extra half hour was a real wear and tear for AA Gent, but the players pulled through. There were no more goals and so Davy Roef was allowed to show himself during the penalty shootout. Undoubtedly one of the reasons why coach Hein Vanhaezebrouck had chosen him again. Roef, the penalty hero of last year’s cup final, stopped a penalty kick in the first leg and now did that trick again. He saved the fourth penalty and that was enough.

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