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Europa League wrap: Late heroics lead Celtic, Gladbach to wins

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Manchester United was one of five clubs to punch tickets to the Europa League knockout rounds by the end of play Thursday.

[ RECAPS: Man Utd-Partizan | Wolves-Slovan Bratislava ]

The Red Devils beat Partizan Belgrade to join Sevilla, Celtic, Espanyol, and Basel in the next stage, while five teams have been eliminated: Rennes, Trabzonspor, Rosenborg, Besiktas, and Astana.

Borussia Monchengladbach 2-1 AS Roma

Federico Fazio made amends for an early own goal by leveling the score for AS Roma, but if you’ve been following the Bundesliga this year you know there was always a pretty good chance that Lilian Thuram’s kid Marcus was gonna make an impact on the proceedings.

Lazio 1-2 Celtic

Ciro Immobile’s early goal threatened to thwart the visitors’ hopes of a clinched knockout round berth, but James Forrest leveled the score before halftime and Olivier Ntcham found a winner deep in stoppage time to deliver the goods. Celtic made the Round of 32 last year before bowing out to Valencia.

Rangers 2-0 Porto

Alfredo Morales and Steven Davis secured a keynote win for Steven Gerrard‘s managerial resume, taking four of six points from the Portuguese giants. It’s not over yet, though, as Rangers’ 7 points are joint-top with Young Boys and both Feyenoord and Porto have four with two matches to play.

Full Europa League scoreboard

Vitoria 1-1 Arsenal — Wednesday, RECAP
APOEL Nicosia 2-1 Qarabag
Dudelange 2-5 Sevilla
CFR Cluj 1-0 Rennes
Standard Liege 2-1 Eintracht Frankfurt
LASK 4-1 PSV Eindhoven
Basel 2-1 Getafe
Lugano 0-0 Malmo
Manchester United 3-0 Partizan Belgrade — RECAP
Astana 0-5 AZ Alkmaar
Copenhagen 1-1 Dynamo Kiev
Krasnodar 3-1 Trabzonspor
Braga 3-1 Besiktas — USMNT’s Boyd scores
Rosenborg 0-2 Sporting Lisbon
Feyenoord 1-1 Young Boys
Porto 2-0 Glasgow Rangers
Ferencvaros 0-0 CSKA Moscow
Espanyol 6-0 Ludogorets
Wolfsburg 1-3 Gent
Oleksandriya 2-2 Saint-Etienne
Wolfsberg 0-3 Istanbul Basaksehir
Borussia Monchengladbach 2-1 Roma
Wolves 1-0 Slovan Bratislava — RECAP

Celtic fans stabbed in Rome ahead of Lazio clash

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Two Celtic fans have been stabbed in Rome ahead of their UEFA Europa League clash with Lazio on Thursday.

Police in the Italian capital have confirmed that 52-year-old and 35-year-old fans were stabbed in close proximity in separate incidents.

A brawl took place outside an Irish pub to spark the trouble, as Celtic had previously warned their fans about potential trouble in Rome.

The two supporters who were stabbed have been admitted to Policlinico Umberto I hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Here are more details from our partners in the UK, Sky Sports:

An eyewitness has told Sky Sports News that a group of Celtic fans were drinking outside the pub when they were approached by four or five people wearing masks.

They added that a chair was thrown towards the Celtic fans leading to a fight that lasted around 15 seconds, during which time one person was stabbed to the side of his torso.

Celtic supporters and bar staff brought the victim inside the pub and they remained conscious while an ambulance was called. The eyewitness said the crowd had been well behaved up until the incident took place.

Eduoard the difference as Celtic wins Old Firm Derby

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Celtic toppled Rangers 1-0 in the first Old Firm derby of the season on Sunday at the Ibrox Stadium, Neil Lennon out-foxing Steven Gerrard via Odsonne Eduoard.

In a match with as many fouls as shot attempts, the man Celtic supporters call “French Eddy” make the difference with a goal and a stoppage time assist of Jonny Hayes.

[ MORE: Bruce on Almiron’s struggles ]

Rangers’ Jordan Jones was sent off for a reckless sliding foul in the sixth minute of stoppage.

It was Rangers’ first loss of the season, leaving Gerrard’s men three points back of perfect Celtic after four match days.

And for Celtic boss Lennon, it was somehow… vindication? The dominant side of Scottish football clearly had a thorn stuck in its foot despite its consistent run of titles, probably due to a shortened Champions League campaign and the perceived uninspiring hire of Lennon to replace Brendan Rodgers:

“Myself, the board, the players have all been written off so early. But we don’t believe the noise. We don’t believe the hype. We’ve come here and performed an outstanding masterclass of how to play in a derby at Ibrox.”

The 21-year-old Eduoard scored his fifth goal in seven Old Firm Derbies to go with two assists. All of those matches were wins for the Bhoys. It’s safe to say he’s taken the mantle of rival star from Moussa Dembele, now of Lyon.

Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor was very good in the second half, giving his men a chance after the hosts’ early second half surge relented and saw Celtic on the front foot.

Gerrard lost a derby at the Ibrox for the first time, entering the day 2-2 with wins at home and losses at Celtic Park.

Europa League group stage draw complete

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The Europa League group stage draw has given tougher tasks for Arsenal and Wolves than Manchester United.

[ MORE: UEFA caps away prices ]

Manchester United will be traveling, with trips to Kazakhstan (Astana) and Serbia (Partizan Belgrade) joining a jaunt to the Netherlands to face AZ Alkmaar.

Last season’s runners-up, Arsenal, will have a tricky group which includes Eintracht Frankfurt. The Bundesliga side lost a lot of firepower in the offseason but nonetheless can win through multiple styles of play. Standard Liege is also a challenge, while Vitoria is far from a Pot 4. Gooners will like their travel schedule, however.

Wolves return to Europe stays tough, as Nuno Espirito Santo‘s tough defeat of Torino is met by visitis to Besiktas, Braga, and Slovan Bratislava. But why did UEFA pair a Portuguese side up with another Portuguese side (We see you, Torino).

Outside of the Premier League:

— As Celtic and Rangers prepare for an Old Firm Derby this weekend, they’ll know that they could hardly have asked for more difficult quests for the UEL glory.

— Americans: Timmy Chandler of Eintracht Frankfurt (Group F), Matt Polster of Rangers (Group G), Romain Gall of Malmo (Group C), Chris Gloster of PSV Eindhoven (Group G).

Group A: Sevilla, APOEL Nicosia, Qarabag, F91 Dudelange

Group B: Dynamo Kiev, Copenhagen, Malmo, Lugano

Group C: Basel, Krasnodar, Getafe, Trabzonspor

Group D: Sporting Lisbon, PSV Eindhoven, Rosenborg, LASK

Group E: Lazio, Celtic, Rennes, CFR Cluj

Group F: Arsenal, Eintracht Frankfurt, Standard Liege, Vitoria SC

Group G: Porto, Young Boys, Feyenoord, Rangers

Group H: CSKA Moscow, Ludogorets Razgrad, Espanyol, Ferencvaros

Group I: Wolfsburg, Gent, Saint-Etienne, Olexandriya

Group J: Roma, Borussia Monchengladbach, Istanbul Basaksehir, Wolfsberg

Group K: Besiktas, Braga, Wolves, Slovan Bratislava,

Group L: Manchester UnitedAstana, Partizan Belgrade, AZ Alkmaar

Live, Europa League: Wolves, Celtic, Rangers one step from group stage

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Wolverhampton Wanderers are 90 minutes away from reaching the UEFA Europa League group stage.

Nuno Espirito Santo‘s team have negotiated two previous qualifying rounds and they lead Torino 3-2 heading into the second leg of their playoff round clash at Molineux on Thursday.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores  ]

Glasgow Celtic and Rangers are both looking good to advance to the group stage too, with Steven Gerrard‘s Rangers hosting Legia Warsaw at Ibrox locked at 0-0 and Neil Lennon’s Celtic taking a 2-0 lead to Swedish side AIK.

Some other big teams are in Europa League playoff action on Thursday, as PSV Eindhoven, Eintracht Frankfurt, Espanyol and Feyenoord all battle to reach the group stage.

Click on the link above to follow all of the action live, while below is the schedule for the Europa League playoff games on Thursday.

We will have you covered on Wolves’ European adventure here on Pro Soccer Talk with reaction and analysis.


Thursday’s Europa League playoff round first legs

Qarabag v. Linfield (2-3)
Riga v. Copenhagen (1-3)
POAK v. Slovan Bratislava (0-1)
AIK v. Celtic  (0-2)
BATE Borisov v. Astana (3-0)
Bnei Yehuda v. Malmo (0-3)
Molde v. Partizan (1-2)
PSV Eindhoven v. Limassol (0-3)
Wolverhampton Wanderers v. Torino (3-2)
Rangers v. Legia Warsaw (0-0)
Eintracht Frankfurt v. Strasbourg (0-1)
Zorya v. Espanyol (1-3)
Hapoel Be’er Sheva v. Feyenoord (0-3)
Vitoria v. Steaua Bucharest (0-0)
Maribor v. Ludogorets (0-0)
Ferencvaros v. FK Suduva (0-0)
Rijeka v. Gent (1-2)
Dudelange v. Avan Academy (1-2)
Antwerp v. AZ Alkmaar (1-1)
Spartak Moscow v. Braga (1-0)
Trabzonspor v. AEK Athens (3-1)