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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)

Live, Europa League: Wolves, Celtic, Rangers all in action

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The UEFA Europa League playoff round has arrived and it is crunch time for three British teams hoping to reach the group stage of the competition.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores  ]

Wolverhampton Wanderers have negotiated the second and third qualifying rounds to reach this stage, as the Premier League side have made light work of Crusaders and Pyunik but Nuno Espirito Santo‘s men now have a really tough challenge. They play Serie A side Torino in Turin on Thursday in the first leg, and after Wolves drew against Man United on Monday they’ve had little time to rest.

Scottish giants Glasgow Celtic and Rangers are also in action, with Neil Lennon’s Celtic disappointed to crash out of the Champions League in the qualifying rounds as they now have to dust themselves off and get past Swedish side AIK.

Steven Gerrard and Rangers have had to battle through three rounds of qualifying to get to this stage and they head to Legia Warsaw knowing they will be up against it. The Polish giants finished second in their top-flight last season and Rangers will be relying heavily on top goalscorer Alfredo Morales to come up with the goods once again.

Feyenoord host Hapoel Beer-Sheva, Daniel Sturridge‘s Trabzonspor head to AEK Athens and Northern Irish side Linfield host Qarabag in some of the other intriguing clashes, as the first legs are set to be tight and tense with group stage qualification on the line.

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

Astana 3-0 BATE Borisov
Avan Academy v. Dudelange — 11 a.m. ET
FK Suduva v. Ferencvaros — 1 p.m. ET
Malmo v. Bnei Yehuda — 1 p.m. ET
Feyenoord v. Hapoel Beer-Sheva — 1:30 p.m. ET
Ludogorets v. Maribor — 1:30 p.m. ET
Copenhagen v. Riga — 1:45 p.m. ET

AEK Athens v. Trabzonspor — 2 p.m. ET
Legia Warsaw v. Rangers — 2 p.m. ET
FCSB v. Vitoria — 2:30 p.m. ET
Gent v. Rijeka — 2:30 p.m. ET
PSV Eindhoven v. Apollon Limassol — 2:30 p.m. ET
Strasbourg v. Eintracht Frankfurt — 2:30 p.m. ET
AZ Alkmaar v. Antwerp — 2:30 p.m. ET
Celtic v. AIK — 2:45 p.m. ET
Linfield v. Qarabag — 2:45 p.m. ET
Braga v. Spartak Moscow — 2:45 p.m. ET
Espanyol v. Zorya — 3 p.m. ET
Torino v. Wolves — 3 p.m. ET
Partizan v. Molde — 3 p.m. ET
Slovan Bratislava v. PAOK — 3 p.m. ET

Transfer rumor roundup: USMNT’s Long to London, Newcastle linked with pair

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Could USMNT center back Aaron Long be headed to the Premier League?

The 26-year-old could join West Ham United’s stable of center backs, which includes Issa Diop, Fabian Balbuena, and Angelo Ogbonna.

Sky Sports says that the Red Bulls defender has drawn the interest of Lyon and Fiorentina, but been offered to the Irons should they match his $5 million release clause.

Unable to find a place with Portland and Seattle, Long spent a few seasons in the USL before earning a place with RBNY.

Now 11-times capped by the USMNT with two goals, Long could be bringing his talents to London’s Olympic Stadium.

Elsewhere in the Premier League, Newcastle United has the chance to sign oft-injured Danny Welbeck on a free transfer.

The longtime Arsenal striker, weaned at Manchester United, scored five times in 12 matches last season in a return to injury woes following a 43-match season the prior year.

Newcastle is also being linked with a former defender. James Tavernier has gone on to captain Glasgow Rangers, and the 27-year-old would cost around $10 million.

Surely Steven Gerrard would want more for the defender, but prices haven’t met quality for Scottish Premiership players as we’ve seen with Kieran Tierney at Celtic.