Last night the UEFA European Cup kicked off and as is tradition, all the clubs involved played the first round of their group stage fixtures and we take a look at some unforgettable (and forgettable) events.
In the first group, Slavia Prague took Maccabi Tel Aviv at Eden Arena, the host took an early lead in the opening fifteen minutes when Thomas Necid found the back of the net and the visiting Maccabi Tel Aviv could not muster a comeback. And Villarreal as well hosting FC Astana condemned the visitors to a 3-1 defeat, the game had looked to toughen up after Logvinenko equalized Sansone’s opener but Bakambu restored the lead for the Yellow Submarines and Cheryshev increased the goal margin by two to ensure that Villareal top the group early and FC Astana go bottom.
Dynamo Kyiv had gone down in the first half after Muzaka scored for Skenderbeu but the manager’s halftime talk was most effective as the home team maintained a constant onslaught on their guests from the start of the second period and Mbokani capped off the 3-1 win with a well taken spot kick. While in the other group fixture, Young Boys and Partizan Beograd shared the points among themselves with a quick flurry of goals in the first fifteen minutes as Jankovic saw his opening goal canceled out by Young Boys’ Fassnacht. Kyiv top the group.
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Hoffenheim must have been in high spirits when they saw their visitors go down after a goal by Wagner, and riding on their weekend domestic victory over Bayern Munich their confidence must have soared but Joao Carlos equalized for Braga just before the first half ended and Dyego Sousa ensured that they took the whole points with a goal in the 50th minute, with Ricardo Esgalo in fine form. The other parties in the group played out a goalless stalemate as Instanbul Basaksehir held Ludogorets Razgrad at home to a draw.
AC Milan looked to have shaken off their first loss of the season against Lazio as they went away to Austria and beat Austria Wien 5-1. Andre Silva grabbed a hat-trick before Suso grabbed the last goal and Borkovic scored the only goal the hosts could get early in the second half to make the scores 3-1 then. AEK Athens also went to Rijeka’s home and beat the home team 2-1. Milan top the group and Wien are bottom for conceding more goals than Rijeka in third.
Lyon were favorites to win against group underdogs Apollon Limassol, but it was not to be as Corpa notched a dramatic equalized in the 90th minute after Depay had earlier given the visitors a lead in the 53rd minute. Atalanta put three goals past a toothless Everton as the scored all the goals in the first period that leaves Everton at the bottom of the table with their woes continuing in the domestic and international fronts.
It remains the only group that as yet has no goals in the competition this season Locomotiv Moscow were held to a 0-0 draw at Koebenhavn’s home and Zlin played out the same score line with FC Sheriff leaving the group looking the same as at the start of the match.
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FC FCSB showed Viktoria Pizen the underside of their boots right from the start of the game and the goals poured in with Pizen left to chase the match all through, Budescu grabbed a brace for the hosts before Denis Alibec made it 3-0. Hpoel Beer Sheva beat Lugano 2-1 with the hosts (Hapoel) scoring one of the two penalties they were awarded and Shir Tzedek’s own goal allowed the score line to look respectable for the visitors.
Arsenal playing in the Europa League for the first time in a long time were able to turn the match around in the second half after Cordoba had put FC Cologne up, Sanchez got on the score sheet and Bellerin scored the Gunners’ third goal to make it 3-1 for them. FK Crvena Zveda drew 1-1 with BATE Borisov and this means Arsenal are number one in the group standings.
Marseille lead the group currently after they beat Konyaspor with a single goal and Salzburg could not find a way around Vitoria de Guimaraes who will be satisfied with the 1-1 result.
Hertha Berlin and Athletic Bilbao played out a goalless draw and Oestersunds beat Zorya away 2-0 to top the group, they are the underdogs of the group and would be looking to prove that they can make it out of the group.
Lazio continue their fantastic form and Ciro Immobile continue his display in front of goal as they come from behind twice to beat Vitesse and go second behind Nice who visited Zulte-Waregem and left the hosts in tatters with a 5-1 bashing.
Spanish sensation Real Sociedad who have won their fourth match of the season with a 4-0 thrashing of Rosenborg in their home stadium fall just one goal short behind Zenith St. Petersburg who pummeled their hosts FK Vardar Skopje in a 5-0 victory Kokorin, Dyuba and Ivanovic getting on the score sheet.