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Diego Simeone's men top Group A with a comfortable victory over Hapoel Tel Aviv, while there are wins for Bordeaux, Dnipro, and Napoli too



Europa League:
Matchday One

Groups A-F


Fixtures/Results
GROUP A
YOUNG BOYS 3 5 LIVERPOOL UDINESE 1 1 ANZHI

An eight-goal thriller between Young Boys and Liverpool set the tone for a high-scoring opening round of Europa League action this evening. The English side got off to a perfect start when calamitous defending at the back saw Juhani Ojala send the ball into his own net. However, Brendan Rodgers’ men displayed awful defending of their own 30 minutes later which ended up with Raphael Nuzzolo firing into an empty net.

Young Boys would go behind and come back yet again after goals from Juhani Ojala and Eulogio Zarate cancelled out Liverpool’s second from an Andre Wisdom header to make the score 3-2 to the hosts. However, the introduction of Jonjo Shelvey would change the match. Sebastian Coates headed home before the Englishman hit two terrific strikes to finish the game at an incredible 5-3 to Liverpool.

The other match in Group A saw Udinese take on Anzhi in a match in which a goal was scored in the dying minutes of both halves. The Russians were the first to net after Daniele Padelli put the ball into his own net after failing to stop Lacina Traore’s strike.

However, the hosts continued to probe for an equaliser and managed to snatch a point in the last minute when talisman Antonio Di Natale peeled away to the back post and picked up the ball before smashing it into the near post past Evgeny Pozaman in the Anzhi goal.

GROUP B
H. TEL AVIV 0 3 ATLETICO V. PLZEN
3 1 ACADEMICA

Holders Atletico Madrid started their defence perfectly with a comfortable 3-0 away win at Hapoel Tel Aviv thanks to goals from Cristian Rodriguez, Diego Costa and Raul Garcia (See Match Report).

Viktoria Plzen did not get off to the best of starts in their opening match as Academica took the lead 19 minutes into the game when Eduardo Da Costa Wilson found himself in the right place at the right time to smash home from six yards.

However, the hosts came storming out of the blocks and restored parity just two minutes after the break with a header from Pavel Horvath. Plzen would go on to win 3-1 thanks to a trio of headers as both Michal Duris and Frantisek Rajtoral netted with their heads like Horvath after half-time.

GROUP C
AEL 0 0 MONCHENGLADBACH FENERBAHCE 2 2 MARSEILLE

Borussia Monchengladbach’s maiden campaign in the Europa League could have been all so different if they had luck on their side as they could only manage a 0-0 draw away to Cypriot side AEL.

Mike Hanke came extremely close to giving the away side the lead within five minutes with a right-footed strike but his shot came crashing off the post, much to the relief of the home fans. The points where there to be won in the last minute when Paulo Sergio handled in the area and Gladbach were awarded a penalty, but the crossbar would be their undoing again as Oscar Wendt’s penalty clipped the woodwork.

A last-gasp strike from Andre Ayew saw Marseille complete a dramatic fightback as they drew 2-2 with Fenerbahce in Turkey this evening.

The hosts took a two goal lead through Caner Erkin’s drilled strike through the legs of Steve Mandanda at the near post and Alex’s header from a Mehmut Topaz cross, but two goals in the last ten minutes from the visitors would see the points shared. Mathieu Valbuena powered in a strike at the near post before turning provider for Ayew, who headed home his corner kick in the last minute.

GROUP D
MARITIMO 0 0 NEWCASTLE BORDEAUX 4 0 CLUB BRUGGE

Maritimo had the woodwork to thank as the Portuguese side frustrated Newcastle with a 0-0 draw in Madeira on Thursday.

The first 30 minutes of the match was a tense affair in which neither side created any golden goalscoring chances. However, it came to life around the half-hour mark when Shola Ameobi latched on to a loose ball inside the area to head at goal, only to see his attempt cannon off the post.

The woodwork would come to the host’s rescue again two minutes later when Dan Gosling’s thunderous 25-yard strike clipped the bottom of the post, in a match where the English side will feel they should have claimed three points.

An impressive Bordeaux side put four past Belgian outfit Club Brugge in a 4-0 crushing at Chaban-Delmas in the Europa League.

The home side applied pressure from the get-go and were able to take the lead in the 13th minute when Ludovic Sane stabbed home a Jaroslav Plasil corner. Yoan Gouffran doubled the lead before the half-hour mark when he latched on to Cheick Diabate’s through pass to sweep the ball into the corner.

Bjorn Engels was introduced at half-time in an attempt to tighten things at the back for the Belgians, but the move proved disastrous as the substitute scored an own goal two minutes after his introduction when he deflected a Benoit Tremoulinas cross into his own net.

The rout was completed after 66 minutes when Ferreira Jussie tapped home Mariano’s cross.

GROUP E
STUTTGART 2 2 STEAUA
COPENHAGEN 2 1 MOLDE

A goal in the last five minutes from Georg Niedermeier spared the blushes of Stuttgart as the German side played out a 2-2 draw with Steaua Bucharest on Thursday evening.

The hosts made the perfect start to the game as Vedad Ibisevic headed home Tamas Hajnal’s pin-point cross after five minutes for an early lead. However, Steaua responded quickly after Sven Ulreich’s misjudged dash from goal allowed Adrian Popa to set up Alexandru Chipciu for a tap in.

The hosts must have thought that they had claimed the victory after Raul Rusescu dispatched a penalty kick after Francisco Rodriguez had fouled Adrian Poparadu inside the area. However, the drama was not over as Niedermeier glanced home from six yards with five minutes remaining to earn a point for the Germans.

A goal scored in either half gave Copenhagen a relatively comfortable 2-1 victory over Molde in the other match in Group E on Thursday.

The home side opened the scoring in the 20th minute when Domingues Claudemir latched on to a loose ball on the edge of the area to coolly curl the ball into the bottom corner. However, the Norwegian side were on level terms seconds before half time when Pape Diouf got on the end of a cross from Martin Linness to slot home.

It took the home side another 30 minutes, but they regained the lead in the 75th minute when Andreas Cornelius tapped in from close range to seal the win.

GROUP F
DNIPRO 2 0 PSV NAPOLI 4 0 AIK
 

Dnipro registered a win in their opening game of the Europa League on Thursday with an impressive 2-0 win over PSV in Ukraine.

The first 45 minutes was a relative non-event, but the home crowd erupted in cheers five minutes after the break when the hosts took the lead. Jan Lastuvka cleared up the field and the ball was missed by PSV defender Timothy Derijck, allowing Matheus to run in and score a looping header off the bar and in.

Further misery was heaped on the Dutch side eight minutes later when Victor Giuliano showed endeavour down the right to send a wicked cross into the area, which deflected off Atiba Hutchinson into the net.

A fantastic hat-trick from Eduardo Vargas saw a classy Napoli side defeat AIK 4-0 in Italy on Thursday.

The Chilean got the hosts off to a great start when he latched on to Valon Behrami’s pass over the top of the AIK defence to smash home from six yards. He scored his second one a minute after the break when he was fed inside by Marek Hamsik to drill home from 12 yards.

The Hamsik-Vargas duo struck again when the Slovakian slipped a pass into his team-mate who slotted home from around the penalty spot to earn his hat-trick. The victory was rounded off in spectacular fashion when Blerim Dzemaili struck into the top corner from 20 yards.

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