Baku, July 2, AZERTAC
Niall McGinn went from UEFA EURO 2016 to the UEFA Europa League in quick time, while Qabala's Theo Weeks hit a hat-trick as the first qualifying round first legs concluded, according to the official website of UEFA.
Niall McGinn experienced the grit to go with the glamour as he scored in Aberdeen's 3-1 UEFA Europa League first qualifying round opener at home against Fola Esch just five days after playing in Northern Ireland's 1-0 loss to Wales in the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16.
McGinn put his side 2-1 up with the first of two added-time goals for the Dons, his strike coming just 14 days after he scored his nation's second in a 2-0 win against Ukraine in the EURO group stage. Meanwhile, on the night that he featured for his nation in a shoot-out loss to Portugal (though he did not take a penalty), 19-year-old wonderkid Bartosz Kapustkas' club in Poland – Cracovia – lost 2-0 to Macedonian side Shkendija away from home.
At the start of the glamour trail to finals, the early goalscoring star is Qabala's Theo Weeks, who scored the first hat-trick of 2016/17 UEFA Europa League in the Azerbaijani side's 5-1 win against Georgia’s Samtredia. Meanwhile, the night's most impressive minnows may have been Gibraltar's Europa, who became the Rock's first UEFA Europa League winners as they beat 14-time Armenian champions Pyunik 2-0 at home.