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Europa League roundup: Celtic keeps rolling, Malmo wins thriller

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The Europa League was good to Scotland again, while an American center back had a fine day in Ukraine.

[ MORE: Arsenal loses | Man Utd falls | Wolves advance ]

It’s all in the roundup.

Feyenoord 2-2 Rangers

Steven Gerrard‘s Scots got a pair of goals from Alfredo Morales as Rangers still lead the group but have not advanced to the final round.

They’ll host Young Boys on Dec. 12, while Feyenoord visits Porto. No one’s been eliminated, with Rangers on eight points, Porto and Young Boys on seven, and Feyenoord five.

Celtic 3-1 Stade Rennes

Another impressive win for Neil Lennon’s Bhoys, as Celtic claimed its group through goals from Lewis Morgan, Ryan Christie, and Michael Johnston.

 

Olexandriya 0-1 Wolfsburg

Wout Weghorst scored the lone goal and USMNT back John Brooks played a standout role in a clean sheet as Wolfsburg joined Gent in advancing from Group I.

Malmo 4-3 Dynamo Kyiv

The first goal came from Rasmus Bengtsson in the second minute, and the game rarely stopped delivering from that point.

Malmo led 1-0, then trailed 2-1 at the break. The hosts then took a 3-2 lead only to find themselves level with the Ukrainians in the 77th. Markus Rosenberg then did this in stoppage time, and Malmo was pleased with him.

Elsewhere

Astana 2-1 Manchester United
Krasnodar 1-0 Basel
Trabzonspor 0-1 Getafe
Young Boys 1-2 Porto
Saint-Etienne 0-0 Gent
AZ Alkmaar 2-2 Partizan Belgrade
Besiktas 2-1 Slovan Bratislava
Braga 3-3 Wolves
Ferencvaros 2-2 Espanyol
CSKA Moscow 1-1 Ludogorets Razgrad
Istanbul Basaksehir 0-3 Roma
Wolfsberg 0-1 Borussia Monchengladbach
Vitoria 1-1 Standard Liege
Arsenal 1-2 Eintracht Frankfurt
Sporting Lisbon 4-0 PSV Eindhoven
Dudelange 0-2 APOEL Nicosia
Lazio 1-0 CFR Cluj
Braga 3-3 Wolves
Sevilla 2-0 Qarabag
Rosenborg 1-2 LASK
Lugano 0-1 Copenhagen

Liverpool’s move for Ryan Fraser makes perfect sense

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Liverpool are said to be in talks with Bournemouth about signing Ryan Fraser in January.

The Scottish winger is out of contract next summer and talks over a new deal at Bournemouth have so far failed.

Fraser, 25, was a star for the Cherries last season but has only been a bit-part player so far this campaign (adding one goal and two assists) as Eddie Howe plans for a future without him and the tension surrounding his future hasn’t helped matters.

Per a report from talkSPORT in the UK, Liverpool winger Harry Wilson, who is currently on loan at Bournemouth, could make a permanent switch to the South Coast club in January in exchange for the Reds being able to sign Fraser. Per the report, it is expected Bournemouth would also want around $15 million from Liverpool, plus Wilson, for Fraser.

Does this move make sense for Liverpool? Absolutely.

The speedy winger was an assist machine last season, racking up 14 which was the second-highest in the Premier League. Fraser wouldn’t start ahead of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah or Roberto Firmino, but he would be a great option off the bench and to play in cup competitions. His style of play is also perfectly suited to Liverpool’s high-tempo and pacy counter attacking.

With Xherdan Shaqiri currently out injured and failing to break in as a regular for Liverpool last season, Fraser would jump ahead of him in the queue for minutes after Liverpool’s attacking trio.

If this move to Liverpool doesn’t work out then Fraser can of course ‘do an Aaron Ramsey‘ and start talking to non-English clubs in January about a free transfer next summer. That’s not something Bournemouth would want, so you can understand their eagerness to at least get a little cash and a promising young player to replace Fraser.

From Liverpool’s point of view, Fraser would be a great addition on the cheap and he still has the prime years of his career ahead of him.

Early Euro qualifiers: Belgium, Netherlands, Russia all win

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In the early slate of Sunday’s Euro 2020 qualifiers, there were little surprises as Belgium, Russia, Hungary, the Netherlands, and Scotland all found the winner’s column.

Liverpool midfielder Giorginio Wijnaldum bagged a first-half brace, including an absolute rocket, as the Netherlands held on for a 2-1 win over Belarus. BATE Borisov midfielder Stanislav Dragun grabbed one back for Belarus soon after halftime, but the visitors held on in Minsk.

[ WATCH: Wijnaldum scores ripper for Netherlands ]

Virgil Van Dijk and Matthijs de Ligt partnered in defense yet again, as they have for 17 of the last 19 Netherlands games, conceding just 17 goals in those 17 matches. Thanks in part to that stellar partnership, Jasper Cillessen had little to do, with Dragun’s headed goal the only shot on target for Belarus in the match, while the Netherlands put seven of their 21 shots on frame.

Michy Batshuayi and Thomas Meunier both found the back of the net as Belgium topped Kazakhstan 2-0 in Astana to remain perfect in qualifying action and keep pace with Russia in Group I. Batshuayi was filling in for an injured Romelu Lukaku, and he latched onto a low back-post cross from Dennis Praet for the opener 21 minutes in. Meunier’s 53rd minute poke came off an absolutely stunning long delivery from Eden Hazard to the far post placed perfectly over the head of the defender. Belgium held 66% possession throughout the match, and while they were only able to put three shots on target, they scored on two of them and held the hosts to just one. Belgium has now scored 30 goals in Euro qualification while conceding just one.

Russia also continued to surge ahead in Group I play one game back of Belgium with a 5-0 demolition of Cyprus in Nicosia. Denis Cheryshev struck nine minutes in to put Russia ahead as he pilfered the ball off the Cyprus back line. The hosts lost Standard Liege defender Konstantinos Laifis to a straight red card, and the rest was elementary. Magomed Ozdoev, Artem Dzyuba, and Aleksandr Golovin all found the back of the net before Cheryshev finished it off with his second of the game in stoppage time. Russia and Belgium have both qualified for the finals, with Russia sitting in second three points behind the perfect group leaders.

Hungary scored 10 minutes in and hung on for a 1-0 victory at home over Azerbaijan. 30-year-old Mihaly Korhut struck a long-distance ripper from well outside the box that appeared to catch goalkeeper Emil Balayev off guard, and the Hungary defense did the rest. RB Leipzig captain Willi Orban and Sporting Kansas City defender Botond Barath held Azerbaijan to just four total shots, including two on target. Meanwhile, despite splitting the possession nearly halfway, Hungary ripped off 23 shots, putting six on target.

Scotland hammered San Marino at home 6-0 behind a first-half hat-trick from Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn. In the pouring rain in Glasgow, McGinn opened the scoring 12 minutes in for his second international goal on a simple cutback and shot from Ryan Christie which clipped McGinn on its way inside the far post. He hit for a second just before the half-hour mark as he poked home a cross by Scott McTominay that was saved into no-man’s land by a diving San Marino goalkeeper Aldo Junior Simoncini. The third featured the highest degree of difficulty as a set-piece delivery into the box was headed by Stuart Findlay towards the far post and McGinn ripped it home on the doorstep under pressure. Lawrence Shankland, Findlay, and Stuart Armstrong finished off the scoreline in the second half, although Scotland has still long been eliminated from qualification in the top-heavy Group I.

EURO 2020 qualifying: Germany, Netherlands seize control of Group C

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A roundup of all of Monday’s action in qualification for the 2020 European Championship…

[ MORE: How will USMNT line up against Uruguay? ]

Northern Ireland 0-2 Germany

Germany bounced back from its home defeat to the Netherlands on Friday and now sits atop Group C. Northern Ireland held the top spot in the group from the outset of qualifying, but the Germans finally drew level on games played (5) on Monday and subsequently leapfrogged them to reach the summit (12 points each).

Marcel Halstenberg (RB Leipzig) put Germany ahead in the 48th minute with a stunning side-volley from a seemingly impossible angle, followed by Serge Gnabry‘s deft five-hole finish to beat Bailey Peacock-Farrell in the 92nd.

Estonia 0-4 Netherlands

The Ryan Babel Renaissance rumbles on, with the 32-year-old bagging a brace in the Netherland’s 4-0 thrashing of Estonia. Since returning to the Dutch side in 2017, Babel has scored five goals after going nearly a decade without an international goal (May 2008 to November 2017).

The former Liverpool (now Galatasaray) winger got the first two goals on Monday, in the 17th and 48th minutes. Memphis Depay put the game to bed in the 76th, followed by the exclamation point from Georginio Wijnaldum in the 87th.

The Dutch (9 points) sit third in Group C three points back of both Germany and Northern Ireland (with a game in hand on each) after winning twice during this international window. Prior to this round of games, they were one or two bad results from failing to qualify for a third straight major tournament.

Scotland 0-4 Belgium

Belgium (18 points) now sits just one win from booking its place at EURO 2020, thanks to a 4-0 rout in Scotland. Having conceded just one goal (to second-place Russia) in their six games thus far, Roberto Martinez’s side has asserted itself as the class of Group I.

Romelu Lukaku made it 1-0 in the 9th minute, followed by defenders Thomas Vermaelen in the 24th and Toby Aldeweireld in the 32nd, and Kevin De Bruyne in the 82nd.

Eden Hazard missed out on this round of international fixtures due to the thigh injury which has prevented him from making his Real Madrid debut.

Elsewhere in EURO 2020 qualifying

Group E

Hungary 1-2 Slovakia
Azerbaijan 1-1 Croatia

Group G

Poland 0-0 Austria
Slovenia 3-2 Israel
Latvia 0-2 North Macedonia

Group I

Russia ____ Kazakhstan
San Marino ___ Cyprus

Arsenal sign Tierney for $30 million

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Arsenal have finally signed Kieran Tierney from Celtic.

The Gunners have their long-term left back.

Tierney, 22, has arrived from the Scottish champions for a transfer fee of $30 million as Arsenal finally agreed to Celtic’s demands.

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Tierney is now the most expensive Scottish player in history and many believe he can follow in the footsteps of Andrew Robertson who has been a revelation in the Premier League, first with Hull City and then Liverpool.

With Nacho Monreal and Sead Kolasinac as options in the left back area, Tierney will be their left back for many years to come.

Able to attack down the left flank, Tierney’s quality is undoubted and although it will be a big step up for the young Scotsman it seems like Arsenal finally have a plan to strengthen their defense.

With young center back William Saliba, 18, signed over the summer then loaned back to Saint-Ettiene for this season, Arsenal are taking care of adding young talented players to their defense.

Let’s see if Tierney can help shore up a Gunners defense which conceded 51 goals last season as they failed to finish in the top four.