(AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

Europa League wrap: Milan, Arsenal, Celtic, Chelsea win on day of thrills

Leave a comment

This was a good day for the Europa League.

Plenty of goals and some wild comebacks dotted the landscape as our Thursday friend truly began its season run.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]


Marseille 1-2 Eintracht Frankfurt

The Bundesliga visitors collected a very decent result considering their status in one of the tournament’s toughest groups. Conceding in the third minute and going down to 10-men minutes after Lucas Torro leveled the score, the German visitors got an 89th minute winner from Luka Jovic to snare all three points.

Dudelange 0-1 AC Milan

The Luxembourgish hosts made their celebrated hosts work hard for the win, with Gonzalo Higuain finally breaking through for Milan before the hour mark. Credit Samu Castillejo with the assist as Milan dodges a poor start.

Celtic 1-0 Rosenborg

Leigh Griffiths’ 87th minute goal saved Celtic from a sleepy start to this season’s tournament (on a night when their Old Firm rivals got a surprising point in Spain).

Scott Brown started the play, and the goal was a delight.

RB Leipzig 2-3 Red Bull Salzburg

Munas Dabbur and Amadou Haidara scored two minutes apart as the Austrian side surprised its Red Bull brothers in Germany with a 2-0 lead, then overcame throwing it away via a Fredrik Gulbrandsen 89th minute face-saving marker.

Konrad Laimer pulled one back for RBL in the 70th minute, and Danish star Yussuf Poulsen completed the comeback to earn the hosts a point.

And, oh yeah, what a team goal for the winner:

Scoreboard
AEK Larnaca 0-1 Zurich
Ludogorets Razgrad 2-3 Bayer Leverkusen
Akhisarspor 0-1 Krasnodar
Sevilla 5-1 Standard Liege
Dynamo Kiev 2-2 Astana
Rennes 2-1 Jablonec — WATCH: Sarr’s stunner
MOL Vidi 0-2 BATE Borisov
PAOK 0-1 Chelsea — RECAP
Copenhagen 1-1 Zenit Saint-Petersburg
Slavia Prague 1-0 Bordeaux
Dinamo Zagreb 4-1 Fenerbahce
Spartak Trnava 1-0 Anderlecht
Arsenal 4-2 Vorskla Poltava — RECAP
Sporting Lisbon 2-0 Qarabag
Olympiakos 0-0 Real Betis
Rapid Vienna 2-0 Spartak Moscow
Villarreal 2-2 Rangers — REACTION
Lazio 2-1 Apollon Limassol
Besiktas 3-1 Sarpsborg
Genk 2-0 Malmo

Ivan Gazidis leaves Arsenal for AC Milan

Getty Images
Leave a comment

One of the worst kept secrets in soccer is out: Arsenal’s Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis has left the club to join AC Milan.

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match live

Gazidis, 54, will join the Italian giants on December 1, with Arsenal promoting Raul Sanllehi from head of football relations to head of football and Vinai Venkatesham, currently their chief commercial officer, now their managing director.

The former MLS deputy commissioner has been the CEO at Arsenal for the past 10 years, overseeing their move to the Emirates Stadium and trying to help Arsene Wenger bring the glory days back for the Gunners.

With Wenger out over the summer and Gazidis appointing Unai Emery as their new manager, the Englishman was thought to be instrumental in the rebuild of the club. Instead, he’s walked away to join AC Milan.

“For the last 10 years I have been privileged to dedicate myself to this great club. Arsenal is entering a new chapter and I have done everything I can to ensure that it is strongly placed to take on that challenge,” Gazidis said. “This includes world-class facilities and outstanding leaders in every sector who carry the values of the club, including, of course, Unai Emery, Raul Sanllehi and Vinai Venkatesham in whom I have enormous faith.”

There has been plenty of criticism of Gazidis and Arsenal’s majority owner, Stan Kroenke, as many fans of the Gunners believe they are purely focused on profit off the pitch rather than building a winning team on it.

Gazidis went on to state that although leaving Arsenal was the toughest decision of his life, he believes he can help AC Milan return to past glories.

“Although it is very hard to do – the hardest decision of my life – I believe that, after 10 years, it is the right time for me to step aside to allow new leadership, energy and ideas to take the club forward into this exciting new era. I believe in the positive force of change, both for me and for the club. While this is the most difficult and challenging course for me, I am excited to see what the future holds for this great club.

“After so many years at Major League Soccer and Arsenal, I am now looking forward to joining one of the world’s other great clubs, AC Milan, and working to restore it to its rightful place in football. Until then, I will continue to devote absolutely all my energy until my last day to ensure an orderly transition for the benefit of Arsenal Football Club.”

Why has Gazidis left now? One of the main reasons could be that Kroenke recently upped his stake in the club after Alisher Usmanov sold his shares, and perhaps Gazidis was being moved on as they try to freshen things up throughout the club.

That said, Arsenal and Gazidis have acknowledged the fact that the latter decided to leave the club so it seems like it was his decision.

AC Milan reportedly ready to court Aaron Ramsey

Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Leave a comment

If Aaron Ramsey joins Adrien Rabiot and Hector Herrera as top talents available on a free transfer next summer, AC Milan may be waiting to snap up the Welsh midfielder.

[ MORE: Ranking CONCACAF MNTs ]

Ramsey, 27, has not agreed to a new contract with Arsenal and could leave the club for free in the summer.

And while AC Milan is going to have to sell some players under Financial Fair Play, Tuttosport is saying the club feels its decent relationship with Arsenal executive Ivan Gazidis could help the move along.

Ramsey has 55 caps with 14 goals for Wales, and has played 335 matches with 59 goals and 57 assists for the Gunners since arriving from Cardiff City (He’s had short-term loans to Nottingham Forest and back to Cardiff).

The Welsh star seems in some ways synonymous with Arsenal’s recent seasons, but may get a chance to be an in-focus star on another side. He’s a very good player who has been dwarfed by names like Ozil and others during his time at the Emirates Stadium.

WATCH: Higuain sets up Milan’s stoppage time winner vs. Roma

AP Photo/Antonio Calanni
Leave a comment

Gonzalo Higuain slipped Patrick Cutrone through for a winner at the death as AC Milan scooped up a 2-1 win over AS Roma on Friday at the San Siro.

Milan rebounded from a season-opening 3-2 loss to Napoli, moving Roma’s record to 1-1-1.

[ PL PREVIEW: Leicester vs. Liverpool ]

The hosts took a lead into halftime when Franck Kessie scored in the 40th minute, but ex-Spurs back Federico Fazio leveled the score before the hour mark.

The match looked destined for a draw when Davide Calabria picked off a terrible Steven N’Zonzi pass and found Higuain.

Look at this ball from the Argentine.

La Liga & Serie A: Dembele rescues Barca, Napoli tops Milan

Twitter/@ChampionsLeague
Leave a comment

A roundup of Saturday’s action in Spain and Italy’s top flights…

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s La Liga coverage ]

Real Valladolid 0-1 Barcelona

Ousmane Dembele came up clutch in the second half to give Barca a 1-0 win on the road, despite missing several big chances throughout the match. The Blaugrana held the majority share of the opportunities, however, Lionel Messi and Co. could not capitalize against a strong Valladolid defensive effort.

Atletico Madrid 1-0 Rayo Vallecano

Antoine Griezmann came up clutch on Saturday for Atleti, as the France international scored his first goal since the 2018 World Cup. The veteran striker finished just beyond the hour mark when Stefan Savic provided the cross to give Atleti its first victory of the 2018/19 season.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Alaves 0-0 Real Betis


Juventus 2-0 Lazio

Cristiano Ronaldo hasn’t scored for his reigning Serie A champions yet, but it doesn’t seem to matter for the team’s success. Miralem Pjanic and Mario Mandzukic found the back of the net to keep Juve at the top of Serie A through two rounds of play, after boasting a flurry of quality chances against a strong Lazio.

Napoli 3-2 AC Milan

The visitors looked in control for the first 50 minutes, but a tremendous home comeback from Napoli derailed Milan’s plans on the day. A brace from Piotr Zielinski and late strike from Dries Mertens helped guide Napoli to the comeback, after a poor showing in the opening 45.

Giacomo Bonaventura and Davide Calabria had given Milan the 2-0 lead heading into the 49th minute, before Carlo Ancelotti’s side stormed back and finished the job.