What do Dundalk need to do to qualify from their Europa League group?

Stephen Kenny's side play their last group game next month

What do Dundalk need to do to qualify from their Europa League group?

Dejected Dundalk players at the final whistle Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

AZ Alkmaar's 1-0 win on Thursday night has taken Dundalk's Europa League progress out of their own hands.

Wout Weghorst's goal in the ninth minute was enough for the Dutch side to take the three points from Tallaght. The win also helped AZ leapfrog Dundalk into second place in Group D.

 

The Dutch team's win has made Dundalk's task in Israel very simple. They need to at least draw to have any chance of qualifying to the Round of 32.

AZ are at home to an already-qualified Zenit, knowing a win will be enough for them to advance, no matter what happens in Netanya.

If AZ were to lose and Dundalk draw with Maccabi Tel-Aviv, all three teams will end up on five points. In that situation it starts to get complicated as Zenit's game are effectively ruled out, and the three teams are ranked on their games against each other.

In that scenario, all three teams will have won their five points against each other. Then next scenario to split the teams will be goal difference, and all three teams will have a goal difference of zero.

Goals scored in the games between each other then gets involved. A 1-1 draw in Israel will mean that all three teams have scored three goals, and there will still be no way to separate the teams.

Away goals is the fourth criteria, and that will eliminate AZ, who will have only scored one away goal, compared to Dundalk and Maccabi's three.

In that case, the fifth criteria is overall goal difference in the group, which will see Dundalk advance from the melee.

A complicated scenario then becomes rather easy. A Zenit win, coupled with a Dundalk score-draw will be enough for the Louth side to reach the knockout stages.