Europa League action round-up – Matchday 2 – October 1, 2009

With more groups than you can count on both hands, the Europa League returned with a vengeance last night, with the resumption of a 25-year-old feud in Glasgow as Rapid Vienna met Celtic at Parkhead. Before the match, Celtic fans let it be known that they had not forgiven Rapid for robbing them of a place in the 1984-85 Cup Winner’s Cup quarter-finals, however, the Hoops’ defence seemed in more of a charitable mood, gifting the visitors an early goal through Croatian Nikica Jelavic. It looked for a short while that Rapid would out-pass, outplay and consequently out-score Celtic, but the Glasgow side got themselves on level terms after 21 minutes. Rapid defender Andreas Dober made the kind of cross defence pass that Rio Ferdinand would be proud of, allowing Scott McDonald to nip in and finish brilliantly, low into the far right-hand corner of the net. There was controversy in the second period when Gary Caldwell appeared to foul Jelavic. Referee Bruno Miguel Duarte Paixao had inadvertently assisted Rapid in the build up and declined to award the spot-kick. Celtic find themselves bottom of group C and needing to take something from their games with Hamburg.

Fulham are by contrast, top of their group after a 1-0 home win against Basle. Roy Hodgson again made numerous changes to his side and the defence looked shaky at the beginning of the game, gifting chances to the Swiss side. Benjamin Huggel should have put the visitors in front when he was given an opportunity, unmarked, inside Fulham’s six-yard box, but he fired his shot over the bar. The Cottagers held on and took the lead 12 minutes into the second half. Andy Johnson beat two defenders before finding Danny Murphy on the edge of the area, who coolly slotted the ball past Basle keeper Franco Costanzo. Australian Mark Chipperfield had an excellent chance to level the game in the closing minutes, but was denied by his fellow countryman Mark Schwartzer in the Fulham goal. Hodgson will be delighted with his sides’ progress in this competition, and is rotating his squad with excellent results.

Everton are the only British club with a 100% record in the Europa League after showing excellent character to overturn a 1-0 half-time deficit against BATE Borisov in Minsk. Dmitry Likhtarovich put the Belarussians in front with an impressive 30-yard effort 16 minutes into the game. The Toffees had a couple of chances before half-time but the home side continued to push for a second as the second period got underway. Everton finally drew level after 68 minutes, when Marouane Fellaini rose to meet a Leighton Baines free-kick, heading it past the Borisov goalkeeper Sergei Veremko. Nine minutes later the Merseyside club were in front, Tim Cahill getting better of the Borisov offside trap and sending a shot over the goalkeeper and into the net There were a couple of scares for Everton as the game drew to a close, but they were able to hold on and now hold a three point lead at the top of Group I.

Full Results

Thursday October 1, 2009

Group A
Anderlecht 1-1 Ajax
FC Timisoara 0-3 Dinamo Zagreb

Group B
Slavia Prague 1-5 Lille
Valencia 3-2 Genoa

Group C
Hamburg 4-2 Hapoel Tel-Aviv
Celtic 1-1 Rapid Vienna

Group D
Sporting Lisbon 1-0 Hertha Berlin
FK Ventspils 0-0 Heerenveen

Group E
Roma 2-0 CSKA Sofia
Fulham 1-0 Basel

Group F
Dinamo Bucharest 0-1 Panathinaikos
Galatasaray 1-1 Sturm Graz

Group G
Levski Sofia 0-4 Lazio
Salzburg 2-0 Villarreal

Group H
FC Twente 0-0 Steaua Bucharest
FC Sheriff 0-1 Fenerbahce

Group I
AEK Athens 1-0 Benfica
BATE Borisov 1-2 Everton

Group J
Toulouse 2-2 Club Bruges
Shaktar Donetsk 4-1 Partizan

Group K
FC Kobenhavn 1-0 Sparta Prague
PSV Eindhoven 1-0 CFR Cluj

Group L
Werder Bremen 3-1 Athletico Bilbao
Austria Vienna 1-1 CD Nacional

Europa League action round-ups

Matchday 1 – September 17, 2009
Matchday 2 – October 2, 2009

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