Tottenham Hotspur
KAA Gent
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Borussia Monchengladbach
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Shakhtar Donetsk
Celta Vigo
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AS Roma
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Apoel Nicosia
Athletic Bilbao
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FC Dallas
Arabe Unido
1:00 AM UTC Feb 24, 2017
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Europa League round of 16 draw

Europa League

Roar coach not sipping champagne, yet

Brisbane Roar coach Ange Postecoglou says he's not popping champagne corks just yet despite taking his side a step closer to a top-two A-League finish.

The second-placed Roar moved five points clear of third-placed Wellington with a thumping 3-0 triumph on the road against Perth Glory on Saturday night.

But the win came at a cost, with in-form striker Henrique suspended for Friday night's home clash with Melbourne Heart after being red-carded for his 65th-minute slap to the face of Glory skipper Jacob Burns.

Postecoglou was disappointed Henrique allowed himself to be goaded into the outburst of emotion.

But the championship-winning coach was otherwise thrilled with his side's dominant performance, claiming the Roar's recent form was nearing that which took them to a record 36-game unbeaten streak last year.

And importantly, the Roar proved beyond a doubt they could win without key midfielder Thomas Broich, who is nursing a shoulder injury and faces a race against time to prove his fitness in time for the Heart clash.

"I think a lot of people would've been looking at us to see how we went without him and I think we were pretty convincing," Postecoglou said.

"Thomas is a fantastic player, I think he's the best player in the league, so you're always going to miss him.

"But I'd like to think we've built something a little bit more substantial than just one player.

"If people were looking for a little weakness in our armour in terms of that, hopefully it has been dispelled."

A second-half brace to Besart Berisha and Henrique's first-half strike took the wind out of the Glory, who slipped seven points adrift of Brisbane and will now concentrate on locking up third or fourth spot.

But Postecoglou said Brisbane could ill afford to rest on their laurels, even though second spot was now theirs for the taking, with first place still a slight possibility.

"I'll sleep OK but I won't be popping any champagne corks," Postecoglou said after guiding his side to their fourth straight win.

"There's still four games to go for us. Some big games plus finals.

"You don't want to limp into the finals. Our target has always been to play our best football at the right time of year and we're building up towards that.

"Some of the football we've played in the past four weeks has been pretty good. We're scoring goals again and that's a good barometer for us."

Glory coach Ian Ferguson was confident his side could rebound ahead of Sunday's clash with Adelaide at Hindmarsh Stadium.

Star striker Shane Smeltz is almost certain to be ruled out for a third straight game due to a lingering ankle complaint, while midfielder Liam Miller (hamstring) is also in danger of missing the match.


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