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To quote Louis van Gaal, BREAKS ARE FOR WIMPS. Kick-off moments away...
Sevilla v Feyenoord, Standard Liege v HNK Rijeka
Everton v Wolfsburg, Lille v FK Krasnodar
Young Boys v Slovan Bratislava, Napoli v Sparta Prague
Rio Ave v Dinamo Kiev, Steaua Bucharest v Aalborg
Fiorentina v Guingamp, PAOK Salonika v Dinamo Minsk
Legia Warsaw v Lokeren, Metalist Kharkiv v Trabzonspor
Tom Maston reports: “Everton are back in European action for the first time in four years, and their supporters are certainly building quite the atmosphere inside Goodison Park. Roberto Martinez has named as strong a line-up as possible for the visit of Wolfsburg while Samuel Eto'o is fit enough to make the bench. The Bundesliga outfit should provide a stiff test of the Toffees' credentials, and they are backed by a boisterous pocket of supporters over to my right.”
Everton: Howard; Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Baines; McCarthy, Barry; Mirallas, Naismith, McGeady; Lukaku. Subs: Joel, Gibson, Alcaraz, Eto’o, Besic, Atsu, Osman.
Wolfsburg: Benaglio; Jung, Naldo, Knoche, R.Rodríguez; Malanda, Luiz Gustavo; Caligiuri, Arnold, De Bruyne; Olic. Subs: Grun, Klose, Schafer, Guilavogui, Klich, Hunt, Bendtner.
Apollon Limassol 3-2 FC Zurich, B. Monchengladbach 1-1 Villarreal
Club Brugge 0-0 Torino, Copenhagen 2-0 Helskinki
Besiktas 1-1 Asteras Tripolis, Partizan 0-0 Tottenham
Dinamo Zagreb 5-1 Astra Giurgiu, Salzburg 2-2 Celtic
Panathinaikos 1-2 Dinamo Moscow, PSV 1-0 Estoril Praia
FK Qarabag 0-0 St Etienne, Dnipro 0-1 Inter
SNOOZEFEST. With a capital S. And a capital N. And a capital O, O, Z, E, F, E, S and T. Both sides had half chances but nothing more. The less said the better.
Given the circumstances, Celtic can count themselves a little disappointed to only take a point against Salzburg. They twice took the lead but were pegged back on both occasions and have to settle for a 2-2 draw. Saying that, Ronny Deila would have taken that result before the match - Salzburg had won eight Europa League group games in a row before tonight.
Looks like it’s going to end goalless in Belgrade. Fair play to the fans - they’ve not stopped singing all evening - but the match has been very poor. Partizan have arguably *just* been the better side but have struggled in decent positions in the final third.
Oh, Legia Warsaw. Legia, Legia, Legia. They could have been playing Champions League football had they not fielded an ineligible player against Celtic - a tie they won by an aggregate scoreline of 6-1 - but instead find themselves in the Europa League. They looked a real force in that qualifier and - whisper it quietly - could be worth a punt to win the whole thing at 150/1.
Legia Warsaw v Lokeren | Metalist Kharkiv v Trabzonspor (both 20:05)
...goes begging. Harry Kane is given free-kick duties after the referee gives a foul 25 yards from goal. The forward can’t hit it cleanly enough, though, and strikes against the wall. A waste.
Fiorentina are the big name in Group K. But it’s a smaller name in their ranks we’d like to focus on. Federico Bernardeschi, a 20-year-old winger who made his debut at the weekend, rejected Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United in 2011 and has been likened to Juan Cuadrado. One to watch!
Fiorentina v Guingamp | PAOK Salonika v Dinamo Minsk (both 20:05)
GOAL: All level again! Jonatan Soriano, who has been quiet so far, steps up and rifles a fantastic free kick in to the top corner. That’s twice now that Celtic have let the lead slip and twice Salzburg have come from behind to equalise. Grandstand finish in store in the Red Bull Arena!
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Frustrating night for Tottenham but, given the playing surface, I’m sure Mauricio Pochettino would be content with a point. Aaron Lennon looks to race clear on the left but has no support and is soon crowded out by three Partizan players. And that rather sums up a night of few major chances in Belgrade...
13 - Tottenham are unbeaten in their last 13 Europa League group stage matches (won nine, drawn four). Run.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 18, 2014
Rio Ave are competing in European competition for the first time this season. The Portuguese club only finished 11th in the league last year but qualify having lost to Champions League representatives Benfica in the final of the Taca de Portugal. But... best of all... they have a player called Andre Vilas Boas. Learn something new every day.
Rio Ave v Dinamo Kiev | Steaua Bucharest v Aalborg (both 20:05)
Napoli = in trouble. They failed to make it through the Champions League play-offs, have had a poor start to the Serie A season and president Aurelio De Laurentiis is reportedly thinking of selling up. But are they contenders to win this competition? You’d have thought so. Any triumph is unlikely to top the Diego Maradona-inspired success of 1989, mind.
Young Boys v Slovan Bratislava | Napoli v Sparta Prague (both 20:05)
In the other game in the group including Tottenham, it remains Besiktas 1-0 Asteras Tripolis, while Dinamo Zagreb are still leading 3-0 against Astra Giurgiu in Celtic’s group. Elsewhere, it’s now Panathinaikos 1-2 Dinamo Moscow, while FC Zurich have pulled two back to draw level with Apollon Limassol.
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GOAL: Celtic lead again! Callum McGregor does brilliantly to get to the byline before clipping a ball into the box, which is cleared. Scott Brown latches on to the rebound and fires a volley at goal which takes a horrible deflection off Ramalho before nestling in the corner!