Liverpool faced bitter rivals Manchester United tonight for the first time in a European Competition. This was just one of eight fascinating Europa League matches that kicked off this evening. The Europa League is certainly growing in stature compared to it’s big brother the Champions League and if it produces more ties like the ones tonight it will continue to attract viewers. Anyway into the results:
Basel vs Sevilla.
Swiss side Basel held reining champions Sevilla to a 0-0 draw this evening. The tie is all to play for next week in Spain.
Borussia Dortmund vs Tottenham Hotspur
A rebuilding Dortmund side hosted a Spurs side that was drastically rotated as they look to continue their Premier League title challenge. Dortmund’s class reigned supreme tonight with two goals from Marco Reus and a header from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang giving the Germans a commanding 3-0 lead.
Fenerbache vs Braga
Turkish giants Fernerbache hosted high flying Braga tonight. The home side left it late to defeat the Portuguese side with the winner coming in the 82nd minute from Mehmet Topal.
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Anderlecht
Ukrainian superpower Shakhtar tonight saw off the challenge of a young Anderlecht side. Goals from Taison and Kucher had given the home side the lead before Frank Acheampong gave the Belgian side something to cheer about.However Eduardo restored Shakhtar’s two goal lead with the match ending 3-1.
Atheltic Bilbao vs Valencia
The all Spanish affair was a tight contest in a rainy Bilbao. The only goal of the game came in the 20th minute when Raul Garcia fired the home side ahead. Gary Neville’s men could still comeback in the second leg with the fixture finely posed.
Liverpool vs Manchester United
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool dominated a depleted Manchester United side. Liverpool took the lead from the penalty spot on twenty minutes. Memphis Depay was adjudged to have pulled Nathaniel Clyne down inside the box. Daniel Sturridge did just enough to beat David De Gae in goal. It could have been 3 or 4 nil to Liverpool had it not been for the Spanish shot-stopper tonight. Liverpool did double their advantage when Adam Lallana pounced on Michael Carrick’s defensive lapse at the back post before squaring it to Roberto Firmino who sent the Kop into hysteria.
Sparta Prague vs Lazio
Czech Side Sparta held their own against Italian opposition Lazio tonight. They made the most of their home advantage taking the lead with thirteen minutes played through Martin Frydek. The Italian’s however got a vital away goal through Marco Parolo with 38 minutes on the clock.
Villarreal vs Bayer Leverkusen
The ‘yellow submarine’ from southern Spain saw off the German powerhouse Bayer Leverkusen. Cedric Bakambu was the hero of the night as his two goals saw the home side establish a comfortable lead. The Germans will be without Tin Jedvaj after he received two yellow cards on the night.
Plenty of games still to play for in next week’s second legs.