Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Europa League Matchday Two Review

Ahead of the International break, Matchday two of the Europa League group stage saw some teams looking for consecutive wins while other hoped to bounce back from opening losses.

After opening with a draw, Fenerbache hosted a Feyernoord side who looked for consecutive wins. The Turkish side kept up their unbeaten start with a narrow 1-0 win over the Dutch with an early strike from Emenike sealing the points.

Manchester United looked to bounce back from their opening loss by hosting Zorya Luhansk who hoped to remain unbeaten. The hosts claimed their first success of the stage with a narrow 1-0 win with the crucial strike coming from Zlatan Ibrahimovic. 

FC Astana and BSC Young Boys faced off looking to get off the mark after both suffering opening defeats. They did just that in a tight game which saw them share the points in a 0-0 draw.

Olympiakos hosted Apoel Nicosia with both sides looking to secure back-to-back victories after opening successes. The spoils went to the Cypriots as they struck after just ten minutes through Soteriou to secure the narrow 1-0 win.

FK Qabala looked for their first points as they hosted FC Mainz who hoped to remain unbeaten after a draw. The visitors opened the scoring four minutes before the interval through Muto only to be pegged back by two goals in five minutes either side of the hour mark. Gurbanov levelled with a penalty before Zenjov put the hosts 2-1 up. Cordoba levelled for 2-2 before a Oztunali effort on 78 minutes sealed a 3-2 win for the Germans.

After unbeaten starts, St Etienne and Anderlecht faced off with the visitors looking for back-to-back victories. The sides shared the points in a 1-1 draw that saw the Belgians open the scoring via a Tielemans penalty just after the hour before a last gasp strike from Roux salvaged a draw.

Dundalk looked to remain unbeaten as they hosted Maccabi Tel-Aviv who searched for the their first points. The Irish side claimed an historic victory with the crucial strike coming on 72 minutes from Kilduff for 1-0.

Zenit St Petersburg hoped to claim consecutive wins as they welcomed fellow unbeaten side AZ Alkmaar. The Russians opened the scoring on 25 minutes through Kokorin before taking full control before the hour mark with a De Paula goal and a second from Kokorin for a 3-0 advantage. The points were wrapped up by a Criscito penalty on 66 minutes before Shatov rounded off the 5-0 rout.

After winning/drawing their opening games, Austria Vienna and Viktoria Plzen met in a battle to remain unbeaten. They remain unbeaten after sharing the points in a tight 0-0 stalemate.

Roma looked to continue their unbeaten start as they face Astra Giurgiu who searched for their first points. The Italians took just 15 minutes to open the scoring as Kevin Strootman made it 1-0. A rapid three goal spree for the hosts saw Fazio and Salah striker either side of an own goal from Silva Dornellas to complete a 4-0 rout.

Athletic Bilbao looked for their opening points as they hosted Rapid Vienna who hoped to seal consecutive wins. The hosts got off the mark in the group with a narrow 1-0 win which came from Urkiaga just before the hour mark.

Another battle between opening losers and winners saw Genk host Sassuolo and alike the other game in the group the hosts secured the win, this time with a 3-1 success. An early opener from Karelis was followed by a doubling of the lead by Bailey on 25 minutes. The points were wrapped up just after the hour mark as Buffel made it 3-0.

Ajax hoped to seal back-to-back victories as they hosted fellow unbeaten starters Standard Liege. The hosts made it two wins in a row with a 28th minute strike from Dolberg to seal a 1-0 success.

After an opening draw, Celta Vigo hosted a Panathinaikos side after their first points. The Greeks will have to wait to kick-start their campaign as they suffered a 2-0 defeat via a late show from the hosts. Guidetti made it 1-0 with just six minutes left before Wass confirmed the win in the 89th minute.

Gent hoped to extend their unbeaten start as they hosted Konyaspor who looking to bounce back from an opening loss. The hosts secured the points with a 2-0 win courtesy of two first half strikes from Saief and Neto.

Shakthar Donetsk and Standard Liege met hoping to keep up their unbeaten starts with a win and draw each in the opening week. The Ukrainians claimed the points with a 2-0 win that saw them strike inside five minutes through Stepanenko before they were reduced to ten men just after the interval by the sending off of Fred. Despite the man disadvantage, they went further ahead just nine minutes later through Kovalenko and held on for the win.

After an opening victory, Schalke 04 looked for a second as they hosted Red Bull Salzburgwho hoped to claim their first points. The Germans led early with a strike from Goretzka before an own goal from Caleta-Car doubled their lead. Howedes looked to have confirmed the win with a 57th minute effort for 3-0 but a 72nd minute goal from Soriano pulled it to 3-1 which was how it ended.

FC Krasnodar and OGC Nice faced off in the second group battle between opening winners and losers and alike the other game, the hosts secured consecutive wins. Smolov fired the hosts ahead with Dos Santos doubling the lad on 33 minutes with Mario Balotelli making it 2-1 just before the interval. A second from Dos Santos from the penalty spot made it 3-1 before the French side pulled it back to 3-2 on 71 minutes through Cyprien. However, the points were wrapped up late on as Silva Ferreira struck twice in the final four minutes for 5-2.

After opening draws, Fiorentina and FC Qarabag met looking for their first win of the stage. The visitors suffered a blow on the half hour mark with the dismissal of Yunuszada and the Italians took full advantage with three goals in six minutes before half-time. A brace from Babacar sandwiched an effort from Kalinic for 3-0 at the interval. A second half brace from Mauro Zarate saw him strike in the 63rd and 79th minutes to open up a 5-0 lead. The visitors avoided being shut-out though due to a late strike from Ndlovu. 

Also looking to build on opening draws were Slovan Liberec and PAOK Salonica and unlike the other game in the group, it was the visitors who continued their unbeaten start as they claimed a 2-1 win. The hosts started perfectly with a Komlichenko strike inside the first minute before being pegged back by a 10th minute penalty from Athanasidis who completed the turnaround with his second goal with eight minutes left of the 90.

After both opening with a win, Hapoel Beer Sheva and Southampton met hoping to remain unbeaten. They did just that as they shared the points in a tightly-knit 0-0 draw.

Sparta Prague and Inter Milan faced off looking to bounce back from opening defeats. The Czechs made a stunning start with a brace from Kadlec giving them a 2-0 lead after just 25 minutes. Inter hit back midway through the second half through Rodrigo Palacio only to be reduced to ten men just four minutes later with the dismissal of Ranocchia. The hosts sealed the win less than a minute later as Holek made it 3-1.

After an opening defeat FC Zurich hosted an Osmanlispor side in the hunt for consecutive victories. The hosts opened the scoring just before half-time through Schonbacher only to be pegged back midway through the second half by Maher for 1-1. The hosts regained their earlier lead with a strike from Causevic with 11 minutes to go and it proved to be enough to seal their first points.

Villarreal hoped to claim consecutive wins as they travelled to face Steaua Bucharest who themselves looked to get off the mark. The Romanians started the better of the two as they took the lead after just 20 minutes through Muniru before being pegged back just nine minutes later by a leveller from Santos Borré. Both sides pushed for a winner but were forced to a share of the points with the Spanish side moving atop the group table.