American Exports: Cunningham, Clark ousted from Europa

AMSTERDAM — Four Americans laced them up in Europa League action on Thursday, with Sean Cunningham going the distance and Ricardo Clark just 42 minutes as Stabæk were ousted from the first qualifying round despite a 3-2 home win over Finnish visitors JJK.

Having fallen 2-0 away in the opening leg, the Blue Ones still would have needed two goals to move on from the tie after Bjarte Haugsdal hit the game-winner on 64 minutes. Erik Benjaminsen dressed for Stabæk, but did not appear.

Elsewhere, KuPS defender Etchu Tabe had his bacon saved as the visitors rallied to advance 3-2 on aggregate thanks to a 1-1 draw at Llanelli AFC.

The Finnish side came to Wales with a 2-1 advantage from the home leg, but fell behind in the tie after Tabe was whistled for a foul in the area just after the break, with Luke Bowen promptly converting the spot kick. However, Aleksi Paananen hit back just nine minutes later, allowing KuPS to advance in European play for the first time since the 1979 UEFA Cup.

Waiting in the second qualifying round is Leo Krupnik's Maccabi Netanya, who host the opener in Israel next Thursday.

Also, Giuseppe Funicello and Thor Akureyri romped on to the second round thanks to a 5-0 rout of Irish guests Bohemians. The Icelandic mites will start the next round away to Czech outfit Mladá Boleslav.

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