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Europa League wrap: Rangers lose thriller, 7 sides advance

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Seven teams clinched spots in the knockout rounds as the fourth match day of the Europa League group stage played out around Europe.

[ MORE: Welbeck injured | Full standings ]

Premier League sides Arsenal and Chelsea are joined by Eintracht Frankfurt, Lazio, Dinamo Zagreb, Bayer Leverkusen, and FC Zurich as clubs to reach the next stage with two matches remaining in this one.

Spartak Moscow 4-3 Rangers

There was no quit from Steven Gerrard‘s Rangers against their desperate hosts, but despite leading 1-0, 2-1, and 3-2, the Glaswegian side allowed goals in the 58th and 59th minutes to sink from the top of Group G to third.

Rangers are a point behind Villarreal, who they host on Nov. 29, and one above last place Rapid Vienna. Spartak has five points and the tiebreaker on the Scottish side with two matches to play.

Celtic 2-1 RB Leipzig

Now this is a statement moment for the Scotland’s Premiership, as Brendan Rodgers‘ men overcame a late equalizer within a minute to earn a big three points against the Bundesliga visitors.

Kieran Tierney scored in the 11th minute, but Jean-Kevin Augustin quelled the excitement at Celtic Park in the 78th minute. Celtic’s Odsonne Edouard scored in the 78th to keep hopes of the knockout rounds alive.

Celtic next visits 0-4 Rosenborg before finishing at home to 4-0 Red Bull Salzburg, who may have nothing at stake.

Full results
Fenerbahce 2-0 Anderlecht
Astana 2-1 Jablonec
Lazio 2-1 Marseille
Malmo 1-1 Sarpsborg 08
Genk 1-1 Besiktas
Dynamo Kiev 3-1 Stade Rennes
Rapid Vienna 0-0 Villarreal
BATE Borisov 0-1 Chelsea — RECAP
MOL Vidi 1-0 PAOK
Apollon Limassol 2-3 Eintracht Frankfurt
Krasnodar 2-1 Standard Liege
Akhisar Belediyespor 2-3 Sevilla
Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 FC Zurich
Real Betis 1-1 AC Milan
Slavia Prague 0-0 Copenhagen
Dinamo Zagreb 3-1 Spartak Trnava
Rosenborg 2-5 Red Bull Salzburg
Vorskla Poltava 0-1 Qarabag
Arsenal 0-0 Sporting Lisbon — RECAP
Olympiacos 5-1 F91 Dudelange
Bordeaux 1-1 Zenit St. Petersburg
Ludogorets 0-0 AEK Larnaca

Europa League preview: Arsenal, Chelsea aim to stay perfect

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Arsenal and Chelsea will both clinch their Europa League groups with victories on Thursday.

The Gunners are at home to face a Sporting Lisbon side it defeated in Portugal two weeks ago, while the Blues head to Belarus for a rematch with BATE Borisov.

[ MORE: Champions League Weds. wrap ]

Chelsea will use Eden Hazard, but has left Cesc Fabregas, Alvaro Morata, Marcos Alonso, David Luiz, Toni Rudiger and Victor Moses back in London. Here’s manager Maurizio Sarri:

“Sometimes it’s better for the players to train rather than just play, to train on some particular physical qualities. If they only play they will lose that physical quality they need, and that’s been proved scientifically over a 21-day period.”

Arsenal will use Alex Iwobi in its match, the Nigerian playing very well in Unai Emery‘s system.

Iwobi credits Emery’s training sessions:

“Unai’s very intense in training and he’s demanding because he knows how good we are. He always wants us to be at 100 per cent, giving our best. It’s not just him, though. We know what we expect from each other, so we’re also trying to get the best out of each other in training.”

Up in Scotland, the Old Firm rivals are facing markedly different challenges on Thursday.

Steven Gerrard‘s Rangers are in Russia to face a group-bottom Spartak Moscow who can leapfrog their visitors with a win. And Celtic needs to attack after losing at RB Leipzig, with the Bundesliga side visiting with a three-point advantage on the third place Bhoys

Full schedule

10:50 a.m. ET
Fenerbahce vs. Anderlecht
Astana vs. Jablonec

12:55 p.m. ET
Spartak Moscow vs. Rangers
Lazio vs. Marseille
Malmo vs. Sarpsborg 08
Genk vs. Besiktas
Dynamo Kiev vs. Stade Rennes
Rapid Vienna vs. Villarreal
BATE Borisov vs. Chelsea
MOL Vidi vs. PAOK
Apollon Limassol vs. Eintracht Frankfurt
Krasnodar vs. Standard Liege
Akhisar Belediyespor vs. Sevilla

3 p.m. ET
Bayer Leverkusen vs. FC Zurich
Real Betis vs. AC Milan
Slavia Prague vs. Copenhagen
Dinamo Zagreb vs. Spartak Trnava
Rosenborg vs. Red Bull Salzburg
Vorskla Poltava vs. Qarabag
Arsenal vs. Sporting Lisbon
Celtic vs. RB Leipzig
Olympiacos vs. F91 Dudelange
Bordeaux vs. Zenit St. Petersburg
Ludogorets vs. AEK Larnaca

Europa League Wrap: Chelsea, Arsenal, Milan all win, Celtic loses in Austria

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It was a packed day of Europa League action, with more than five hours of coverage. Let’s summarize what we learned after Matchday 2.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]


Chelsea 1-0 Vidi FC

Alvaro Morata finally broke his goal duck, scoring for the first time in six weeks as Chelsea overcame Vidi FC, 1-0 at Stamford Bridge.

Morata’s clinical finish, stabbing a strike home at the near post off a Willian header, was thanks to a wonderful cross into the box by Cesc Fabregas and creative wide play from substitutes Ross Barkley and Eden Hazard. The Chelsea pair drew four defenders out of the box, opening space for both Willian and Morata.

With the win, Chelsea sits at the top of Group  L with six points from two matches.


Apollon Limassol 2-2 Marseille

Emilio Zelaya’s stoppage time chip canceled out a 2-0 lead by Marseille on the road as Limassol secured a massive point in the Europa League. The 2-2 result came in spite of a pair of terrific Marseille goals, first from Dimitri Payet on a maze-like run and second from former Brazil international Luiz Gustavo.


Red Bull Salzburg 3-1 Celtic

Despite a second-minute goal, Red Bull Salzburg emerged victorious after 90 minutes over Celtic. Israeli international Munas Dabbur scored twice for the hosts in the second half, canceling out Odsonne Edouard’s solo goal just over 90 seconds into the match. With the defeat, Celtic move into third place, tied with RB Leipzig on three points but below the German club on goal differential.

Scoreboard

Bayer Leverkusen 4-2 AEK Larnaca

Zurich 1-0 Ludogorets

Rosenborg 1-3 RB Leipzig

Red Bull Salzburg 3-1 Celtic

Bordeaux 1-2 FC Copenhagen

FC Zenit 1-0 Slavia Prague

Anderlecht 0-2 Dinamo Zagreb

Fenerbahce 2-0 Spartak Trnava

Qarabag 0-3 Arsenal

Vorskla 1-2 Sporting Lisbon

Milan 3-1 Olympiacos

Betis 3-0 Dudelange

Rangers 3-1 Rapid Wien

Spartak Moscow 3-3 Villarreal

Apollon Limassol 2-2 Marseille

Eintracht Frankfurt 4-1 Lazio

Malmo 2-0 Besiktas

Sarpsborg 3-1 Genk

Krasnodar 2-1 Sevilla [Game-Winning Bicycle Kick]

Standard Liege 2-1 Akhisarspor

Astana 2-0 Rennes

Jablonec 2-2 Dynamo Kiev

BATE 1-4 PAOK

Chelsea 1-0 Vidi FC

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

(AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
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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

Europa League preview: Arsenal, Chelsea debut; Red Bull Derby (of sorts)

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The Europa League group stage begins Thursday, with two London giants taking part in a relatively unfamiliar competition.

[ MORE: Full Europa League schedule ]

Both Arsenal and Chelsea have played in the tournament finals in recent years, but for the most part are Champions League mainstays.

This season, however, it’s the UEL leading one to Greece and the other to a visit from a Ukrainian side.

Both are involved in our five matches to monitor amongst the 48-team field on Day 1.

5 (tie). Villarreal vs. Rangers / Celtic vs. Rosenborg

The Old Firm rivals with plenty to prove kick off their group stages on Wednesday, in turn saying something for Scottish football.

For Steven Gerrard‘s Rangers, that means the chance to make good on their first full European tournament since the 2010-11 Europa League. They took the long way, winning four qualifying rounds to earn these nights. Now what? Perhaps their toughest test yet in Villarreal.

For Brendan Rodgers‘ Celtic, it’s an opportunity to show that while the Champions League has been a bit too rich for their blood, a Europa League group stage with Austrian, German, and Norwegian competition isn’t a problem for the best team in Scotland.

4. Arsenal vs. Vorskla Poltava

Forget the opposition: Unai Emery sees the Europa League as the opportunity to put more silverware in the halls of Arsenal HQ. From Arsenal.com:

“Every title for us is very important. In 2000, Arsenal played the final against Galatasaray but didn’t win. And also, Arsenal played the final in 2006 in the Champions League and also didn’t win. In my career, the ambition is very important for continuing to improve and continuing to achieve the objectives in my career personally and with the team. I want to play for every title going forward.”

There’s no reason to expect anything but a win for the Gunners against a team in just its second European group stage.

3. Marseille vs. Eintracht Frankfurt

Frank McCourt’s Olympique Marseille still doesn’t sound quite right, so let’s go with the manager. Rudi Garcia’s Olympique Marseille has a lot of weapons, including a trio of World Cup winners in Steve Mandanda, Florian Thauvin, and Adil Rami. Their Bundesliga visitors feature a Mexican national teamer (Carlos Salcedo) and an American (Timothy Chandler), but eyes will be trained on a Frenchman: Sebastian Heller has three goals and an assist in three league appearances this season.

2. PAOK vs. Chelsea

With all respect to Vieirinha and Amr Warda, this shouldn’t be a major challenge for Maurizio Sarri‘s men. Yes, even with Eden Hazard, Mateo Kovacic, and David Luiz being rested in London.

But it gets our circle because Sarri has called it the most difficult challenge of their group stage. BATE Borisov and MOL Vidi (formerly Videoton) are the other members of Group L. From ChelseaFC.com:

“I have seen the four matches played by PAOK in the Champions League play-offs. My staff have seen the matches of the Greek championship. I think I know everything.

“We want to play with our characteristics, to control the match with our ball possession, but I know tomorrow will be difficult. They are a good team. They have won against Basel, Spartak Moscow, they drew against Benfica in Portugal. We have to do a very good match if we want to gain points.”

1. RB Leipzig vs. Red Bull Salzburg

UEFA would prefer to avoid matches like this, even presumably one-sided ones, as two clubs owned by Red Bull square off in a meaningful competition. The pair being in the same group will be even trickier when there are chances to affect the next round fate of their brother club (The clubs aren’t technically deemed to have the same ownership, but it’s difficult to conclude the relationship isn’t a healthy one).