Pepe arrives, Man United plod on: Europa League round-up


Matchday three of the Europa League saw positive results for all five British sides involved.

Arsenal vs Vitoria:

Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe was the stand-out star of the night. The Ivorian is the club’s record transfer, having signed for £72 million in the summer, but had failed to score since a penalty on his debut.

Trailing 2-1 to Portuguese side Vitoria Guimaraes, Pepe came off the bench to replace Alexandre Lacazette. He netted a free-kick five minutes after being introduced and then a second to win the match in dramatic fashion in stoppage time.

This preserved Arsenal’s perfect record in the tournament so far. Youngster Gabriel Martinelli was also on the scoresheet for the Gunners, continuing his impressive run of form.

Celtic vs Lazio: 

They weren’t the only side to snatch victory at the death. Celtic took a vital three points against Lazio to go top of group E. Manuel Lazzari scored for the visitors before the break, who seemed to be in control.

However, Celtic continued valiantly, and Ryan Christie levelled the game. With a minute of the 90 remaining, Christopher Jullien headed in from Christie’s corner, making the Italians rue a number of missed chances earlier on.

Slovan Bratislava vs Wolves:

Wolves were made to work for their result, but came away 2-1 winners in Slovakia. They too were behind at half-time due to a deflected effort, but goals from Romain Saiss and Raul Jimenez conflicted opponents Slovan Bratislava to a first defeat of the campaign.

Wolves move up to second in group K, a point behind Sporting Braga. The only negative for them this evening was Diogo Jota’s red card for two bookings in quick succession.

 Partizan Belgrade vs Manchester United:

Manchester United needed a penalty to overcome Partizan Belgrade in Serbia. The victory was their first away from home since the famous win over PSG in March, but was nonetheless an uninspiring display.

The returning Anthony Martial dispatched the spot-kick – which was won 19-year-old Brandon Williams – after 43 minutes. Some might be thinking twice about mocking United for their goalless draw with AZ Alkmaar, as the Dutch side today ran out 6-0 winners over FC Astana and moved up to second. 

Image result for martial partizan

Anthony Martial’s penalty was the difference – Photo: AFP

Roma vs Borussia Monchengladbach: 

Penalties were not on the side of United loanee Chris Smalling this evening. Playing for Roma against Borussia Monchengladbach, Smalling was struck by the ball in injury time. The referee pointed to the spot for handball, but the Englishman had been hit in the face. Lars Stindl made no mistake with the penalty, and the match ended 1-1.

Porto vs Rangers

While not flying back to Glasgow with three points, Steven Gerrard’s Rangers will feel pleased with a point away in Porto. The Portuguese side have won their last six games in the league, so provided a serious challenge.

Both goals came in the first half; Luis Diaz’ 25-yard strike was cancelled out by Alfredo Morelos just before the break. Rangers held out in the second period, and sit second in a very tightly contested group G. Top spot is currently occupied by Young Boys, who beat Feyenoord 2-0. 

Half of the group stage has now been played. Matchday four commences on Wednesday 6th November, as Arsenal’s match against Vitoria has been moved to avoid traffic congestion. The rest of the fixtures remain on the 7th



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