Europa League

Photo by Aziz Karimov/Getty Images

Europa League game halted by drone carrying Armenian flag

1 Comment

LUXEMBOURG (AP) The Europa League game between Dudelange and Azerbaijani club Qarabag had to be briefly suspended in the first half Thursday after a drone flew over the field carrying what looked like an Armenian flag.

[ EUROPA LEAGUE: Man United held to 0-0, Wolves win | Arsenal run rampant ]

The drone incensed Qarabag players, who tried to hit it with the ball as it flew over the center circle, and the referee made the decision to halt play for more than 20 minutes with Qarabag leading 2-0.

Play later resumed, with Qarabag winning 4-1.

UEFA said the decision to halt the match was taken “for safety and security reasons.”

“UEFA will await the official reports from the match officials to determine whether disciplinary proceedings will be opened,” the European governing body said in a statement.

Azerbaijan and Armenia are in a territorial dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. A fan carrying the Armenian flag also ran onto the pitch during Qarabag’s away game at Arsenal in London in last season’s Europa League.

Nagorno-Karabakh is a region of Azerbaijan which has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a war there ended in 1994.

UEL (late) roundup: Arsenal run rampant; Chicharito scores again

Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images
Leave a comment

A roundup of all of Thursday’s (late) action in the Europa League…

[ UEL (early) roundup: Man United held to scoreless draw; Wolves win in Turkey ]

Arsenal 4-0 Standard Liege

While Manchester United labored to a 0-0 draw in the Netherlands and Wolverhampton Wanderers left it very late in their win in Turkey, one Premier League side took care of business and made it look astoundingly easy: Arsenal.

Gabriel Martinelli scored twice inside the game’s first 16 minutes, which was more than enough for the Gunners to brush Belgian side Standard Liege aside. Joe Willock (22nd minute) and Dani Ceballos (57th) grabbed goals as well, for good measure.

That’s two clean-sheet wins in two group games for Arsenal, who hammered Eintracht Frankfurt to the tune of 3-0 last time out. Unai Emery‘s side sits second in Group F, three points clear of the two sides they’ve already beaten.

Sevilla 1-0 APOEL Nicosia

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez scored the only goal, his second in two Europa League games this season, to give Sevilla a narrow victory over Cypriot side APOEL. Hernandez joined Sevilla from West Ham United last month and, while he hasn’t yet started a game or found the back of the net in La Liga play, he has proven a valuable weapon in European competition.

Notable Europa League scores

Lazio 2-1 Rennes
Vitoria de Guimaraes 0-1 Eintracht Frankfurt
Rosenborg 1-4 PSV Eindhoven
Sporting CP 2-1 LASK
Celtic 2-0 Cluj

UEL (early) roundup: Man Utd held to 0-0; Wolves win in Turkey

Photo by Sam Bagnall - AMA/Getty Images
Leave a comment

A roundup of all of Thursday’s (early) action in the Europa League…

[ UEL (late) roundup: Arsenal run rampant; Chicharito scores again ]

AZ Alkmaar 0-0 Manchester United

Man United have won just three out of 10 games this season (all competitions) after being held to a scoreless draw away to Dutch side AZ Alkmaar on Thursday. Scoreless and without a shot on target, that is. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s side managed just six shots in total — that’s one every 15 minutes of a 90-minute game.

One of Man United’s three wins came against tiny Kazakh side Astana, via a late goal from 17-year-old Mason Greenwood, in the Red Devils’ group stage opener. They have four points and sit second in Group L, behind Partizan Belgrade on goal differential.

Besiktas 0-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers

On a slightly more positive note for a Premier League side, Wolves snatched a stoppage-time victory from their trip to Istanbul. With 93 minutes on the clock, Willy Boly cleverly collected a chipped ball from Ruben Neves, turned in on goal and slotted the ball past the goalkeeper in one fluid motion.

The away win puts Wolves back on track in Group K — where they sit third, trailing Slovan Bratislava and Braga by just a point — after losing at home to Braga in the group stage opener.

Notable (early) Europa League scores

CSKA Moscow 0-2 Espanyol
Wolfsberger 1-1 Roma
Istanbul Basaksehir 1-1 Borussia Monchengladbach
Saint-Etienne 1-1 Wolfsburg
Feyenoord 2-0 Porto
BSC Young Boys 2-1 Rangers

Europa League preview: Solskjaer slams turf in Netherlands; Emery seeks win

Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Tough road tests await Manchester United and Wolves, while Arsenal stays home for Thursday’s round of Europa League matches.

Having thumped Eintracht Frankfurt in Germany, the Gunners can deliver themselves control of the group by defeating Standard Liege.

[ MORE: Full Europa League schedule ]

That won’t be as easy as it sounds, even at the Emirates Stadium, because Standard enters the match on a five-match unbeaten streak.

Unai Emery just wants a win.

“With a good performance, with good pieces, with also controlling the match and with good positioning on the pitch for good pressing against them,” Emery said. “Tomorrow, we need that. Also, a clean sheet is important. Yes, it’s important. But I think it’s one process, to be strong, to be competitive defensively and offensively. I think we are getting better little by little, but each match is a big challenge for us to show how we are improving as a team. But above all is to win.”

Standard is led by 23-year-old midfielder Samuel Bastien and 21-year-old goalkeeper Arnaud Bodart, the latter of whom has only allowed seven goals in nine appearances this year.

The Gunners drew Manchester United 1-1 on Monday, a result which cast even more doubt on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s ability to generate consistent performances from the Old Trafford set.

The Red Devils face AZ Alkmaar in the Netherlands, and AZ is young and fierce. Nineteen-year-old defender Owen Wijnald is one of several green players chewing up big minutes for the side.

They could well face an almost as young United on Thursday, with Paul Pogba unable to play with an ankle injury. And Solskjaer said he might’ve not played Pogba if he was healthy due to the state of the pitch at ADO Den Haag, where AZ is playing while its stadium is repaired.

“It’s one of the worst ones I’ve seen for a long while, we’ve all got standards back home in Norway and they are all modern and new but it’s safe, I’m not saying that… it’s just not the newest.”

Watch out for Oussama Idrissi, who has six goals this season, as well as 18-year-old Myron Boadu. The teen has four goals and three assists in 624 Eredivisie minutes.

Wolves have the toughest test of the Premier League sides in the Europa League, and they’ll face Besiktas in Turkey.

Both Wolves and their hosts lost their opening group stage matches, so the stage is set for some drama in Istanbul.

Wolves’ defender Conor Coady said the team will be buoyed by its weekend win over Watford, its first this season in the Premier League.

“Saturday was huge for us,” he said. “Not necessarily the result, but the way we played, we looked a little bit more like ourselves. We haven’t really panicked to much about the start of the season because we know it’s early but it was good, and the clean sheet was massive.”

Wolves and Manchester United play their matches at 12:55 p.m. ET, while Arsenal will kickoff at 3 p.m.

Nuno demands ‘immediate reaction’ from struggling Wolves

Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Replicating the lofty heights of last season has proven a tough task for Wolverhampton Wanderers through the first month and a half of the 2019-20 campaign, both in the Premier League and in Europe.

[ MORE: Top Premier League storylines: Week 6 ]

After finishing seventh in their first season back in the PL, Wolves began their first-ever Europa League adventure this summer, largely breezing through the qualification rounds to reach the group stage. That part went swimmingly. Thursday’s group play opener didn’t go so well, as Nuno Espirito Santo‘s side fell to Portuguese side Braga at home, 1-0.

Wolves began the PL with three straight draws, conceding just two goals in total. Since then, they have lost two in a row and conceded eight goals.

[ MORE: Man City’s David Silva in “likely” Inter Miami move ]

Again, we’re not even two months into the season, but Santo knows the next few games are going to be hugely important for his side. Not only does he need to keep his players’ heads from dropping during these trying times, but they also need to begin stringing together results, both in the PL and in Europe. Wolves need to bounce back, and immediately — quotes from the BBC:

“This is important. We face the reality and the reality says we not performing well so we have to analyze it and find solutions in the team to improve.

“We must react immediately. We have to take decisions and find solutions for the team because we have to come out of this situation and improve our performance so we can bounce back.”

“We are all disappointed.”

Up next for Santo’s side is a potentially tricky trip south London to face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, where the Eagles have already drawn top-six hopefuls Everton and beaten newly promoted Aston Villa.