Europa League

Europa League Roundup: Ostersunds and Zenit secure vital wins

With two Europa League group stage match days completed Dynamo Kyiv, SC Braga, AC Milan, FCSB, Arsenal, Ostersunds, Nice, Lazio and Zenit St Petersburg all have their perfect records intact. On the other hand, sides such as Athletic Bilbao, Everton, Hoffenheim, FC Koln and Vitesse Arnhem have really struggled so far. See below to find out what happened in Gameweek 2.

Group A

Maccabi Tel Aviv 0-0 Villarreal

FC Astana 1-1 Slavia Prague

The two draws in Group A this matchday put Villarreal and Slavia Prague top of the group on four points each, with the teams facing off in the next round. Meanwhile, FC Astana and Maccabi Tel Aviv will have been hoping for more and have both put pressure on their encounter in the next round of games, as they look to push their way into the qualification places.

Group B

Partizan Belgrade 2-3 Dynamo Kyiv

Skenderbeu 1-1 Young Boys

It looked as though Partizan Belgrade were going to cause an upset when first-half goals from Ognjen Ozegovic and Leandre Tawamba saw them into the break 2-0 up. However, Junior Moraes scored either side of Vitaly Buyalskyy’s strike to get the three points for the Ukrainian side, with his second coming in the 84th minute. The draw between Young Boys and Skenderbeu means that there is only one point between themselves and Partizan Belgrade, with the Swiss side edging it, taking the spot behind Dynamo Kyiv with two points.

Group C

SC Braga 2-1 Istanbul Basaksehir

Ludogorets 2-1 Hoffenheim

Hoffenheim went into the group stages as one of the favourites to get out of Group C, but remain pointless after two games despite a second-minute opener from Pavel Kaderabek in this match. SC Braga, on the other hand, are flying, securing their second win in as many Europa League games with an 89th-minute winner from Fransergio, which meant that Emre Belozoglu’s brilliant free-kick wasn’t enough to earn a point for Basaksehir.

Group D

AC Milan 3-2 Rijeka

AEK Athens 2-2 Austria Vienna

AC Milan had made easy work of their win against Austria Vienna in the last match day, but made a lot harder work of it against Rijeka. They were cruising at 2-0 after goals from Andre Silva and Mateo Musacchio, but then let that lead slip with some sloppy defending allowing the Croatian champions to level the game. It was Fabio Borini who created the winner with a superb through ball which was flicked in by Patrick Cutrone to secure the three points for I Rossoneri. Austria Vienna will have been keen to bounce back from their battering against AC Milan and were moments away from doing so with a win. However, a 90th-minute goal from Marko Livaja brought the game level and made the Austrians settle for one point, keeping AEK in a strong position in second.

Group E

Lyon 1-1 Atalanta

Everton 2-2 Apollon Limassol

After losing 3-0 against Atalanta in the opening group match Everton will have been keen to get three points on the board against Apollon Limassol. Their cause wasn’t helped when Ashley Williams gifted the Cypriots the lead with a mistake at the back, but Wayne Rooney was then given the ball in front of the gaping goal by Hector Yuste. It seemed as though Nikola Vlasic had given the Evertonians the win when he raced through and dispatched well. However, Apollon managed to get their second late equaliser in as many Europa League games despite Valentin Roberge getting himself sent off, as Yuste made up for his earlier error to get his head on the end of a deep free-kick to convert. In Lyon, Bertrand Traore had put the home side ahead before Alejandro Gomez scored his second class goal of this Europa League campaign to rescue a point for Atalanta, keeping them at the top of the table.

Group F

Lokomotiv Moscow 3-0 Zlin

Sheriff Tiraspol 0-0 FC Copenhagen

In the first two match days in Group F there has only been one player to score a goal. However, the man who has done so, Manuel Fernandes did it in emphatic fashion. His hat-trick, which came inside the first 17 minutes of their match against Zlin has put Lokomotiv Moscow two points clear at the top of the group. Their closest competitors are Sheriff Tiraspol and FC Copenhagen, who are both yet to score or concede a goal in the Europa League group stages this season.

Group G

Lugano 1–2 FCSB

Viktoria Plzen 3–1 Hapoel Beer Sheva

Constantin Budescu was the star of Group G last time around and he had a big impact again this week. Lugano had taken the lead early on, but the Romanian then equalised just before the hour mark which turned the tide of the game. Junior Morais then put FCSB into the lead just six minutes after the equaliser to continue FCSB’s perfect run in the competition. Viktoria Plzen will have been disappointed with their showing in the first group match, but they made amends for that against Hapoel Beer Sheva with two goals in the last quarter of an hour -including a strike from Marek Bakos just four minutes after he came on- enough to earn the Czech club the three points.

Group H

BATE Borisov 2–4 Arsenal

FC Koln 0–1 Red Star Belgrade

An Arsenal side featuring youngsters Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock overcame BATE Borisov with a Theo Walcott brace, Rob Holding’s first Arsenal goal and Olivier Giroud’s 100th for the club. Despite some poor defensive work, the side which was orchestrated by Jack Wilshere managed to maintain their 100% Europa League record this season. In the other Group H game, it was a Richmond Boakye-Yiadom strike from outside the box which secured the three points for Red Star Belgrade, taking them into second spot.

Group I

Red Bull Salzburg 1–0 Marseille

Konyaspor 2–1 Vitoria SC

After drawing their first match, Salzburg’s 1-0 win, secured via Moanes Dabbur’s second-half strike has put them at the top of the Group I table, one point ahead of the French side. Konyaspor’s win against Vitoria SC means that they are now level with Marseille on points, making their upcoming match with Red Bull Salzburg important in seeing who will be occupying the qualifying places at the halfway point of the group stages.  

Group J

Ostersunds 1–0 Hertha Berlin

Athletic Bilbao 0–1 Zorya

Ostersunds didn’t come into this group as favourites but have been top of the table after both games so far. They have followed up their victory against Zorya with a 1-0 win against Hertha Berlin thanks to a converted penalty taken by their captain Brwa Nouri. There was another shock as Zorya managed to secure a win away at Athletic Bilbao in front of their six travelling supporters. This result means the two favourites in Group J, Athletic Bilbao and Hertha Berlin, are at the bottom of the group with one point apiece. The next matchday will have a fascinating encounter as Ostersunds will face off with Athletic Bilbao as the Spaniards look to kickstart their campaign, while the Swedes look to carry on their impressive form.

Group K

Nice 3–0 Vitesse Arnhem

Lazio 2–0 Zulte Waregem

OGC Nice and Lazio were the clear favourites ahead of this group and both have asserted their dominance in the first two games, keeping a 100% record. In Nice’s latest win Alassane Plea scored either side of a stunning Allan Saint-Maximin solo effort. It was Felipe Caicedo who opened the scoring for Lazio against Zulte Waregem before Ciro Immobile came off the bench and continued his impressive form this season by scoring in the 90th minute. These results set up an intriguing meeting between the heavyweights in the next match day. 

Group L

Zenit St. Petersburg 3–1 Real Sociedad

Rosenborg 3–1 Vardar

Zenit St Petersburg vs Real Sociedad was arguably the most highly anticipated of this week’s Europa League fixtures, especially after they both recorded resounding wins last time around. In the end it was individual errors which cost Sociedad, the worst coming from their goalkeeper, Geronimo Rulli who completely misjudged Leandro Paredes’ ball, allowing it to bounce into Aleksandr Kokorin’s path for him to score his first of two goals in this game, putting him ahead in the Europa League goal charts with four goals and one assist. Watch out for Real Sociedad centre-back Diego Llorente though, who scored again, taking his own tally to three goals. In the other game, Nicklas Bendtner scored from the penalty spot and provided a genius assist with a backheel to inspire Rosenborg’s first win of the Europa League campaign, although Vardar will be happy with their first ever European goal outside of the qualifying rounds courtesy of a Juan Felipe Ribeiro chip.

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