Arsenal beat Zurich, Manchester United led by Cristiano Ronaldo lose in Europa League
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Cristiano Ronaldo returned to the starting lineup but Real Sociedad still beat Manchester United 1-0 at Old Trafford in their Europa League opener on Thursday.
After failing to secure a transfer to a Champions League club, the star striker had to settle for playing in Europe’s second-tier competition for the first time since 2002 with Sporting Lisbon.
Ronaldo last started in a 4-0 loss to Brentford on August 13 before United secured four successive Premier League wins. United manager Erik ten Hag had used the Portuguese star on the bench during the winning streak.
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Ahead of their group stage opener, a minute’s silence was observed to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, who died aged 96 on Thursday.
Both teams wore black armbands and the flags at Old Trafford were at half mast.
« The club recognizes his immense contribution to public life, including sport, here in the UK, in the Commonwealth and around the world, » United said in a statement.
Brazilian teenager Marquinhos marked his Arsenal debut by scoring the opening goal and scoring a second in a 2-1 win over Zurich in the opening group stage match.
Eddie Nketiah scored the winner after Zurich equalized from a penalty awarded through foul play as Arsenal bounced back from Sunday’s 3-1 loss to United – their first Premier League loss this season.
Lazio opened their campaign with a 4-2 win over Feyenoord but fellow Italian Roma lost 2-1 at Ludogorets in Bulgaria.
In the third-tier Europa Conference League, West Ham rallied in the second half to beat Romanian FCSB 3-1 in London.
Elsewhere, Villarreal beat Lech Poznan 4-3 while Fiorentina were held 1-1 at home by Latvian champions RFS.
The start of a match between Nice and Cologne in the ECL has been delayed due to fights between supporters in the stands of the Allianz Riviera stadium. Kick-off was postponed for 55 minutes. The match ended in a 1-1 draw.
ANTONY’S FIRST GOAL HIGHLIGHTS MANCHESTER UNITED’S VICTORY OVER UNBEATEN ARSENAL AT OLD TRAFFORD
Brais Méndez converted from the spot for Real Sociedad in the second half at Old Trafford, hitting the bottom corner of David de Gea’s goal. The penalty was given for a handball by defender Lisandro Martinez. It was Real Sociedad’s first win against United in European competitions.
The duo Nketiah and Marquinhos were involved in the decisive moments of Arsenal’s victory while United States goalkeeper Matt Turner made his debut for the Gunners following his summer transfer from Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution.
Nketiah found the back of the net with a second-half header that went between the legs of Zurich goalkeeper Yanick Brecher from a cross from Marquinhos, who joined Arsenal this summer from Sao Paulo.
In the London club’s return to European football after a year’s absence, 19-year-old Marquinhos met a left-footed cross from Nketiah into the top corner and completed a smooth counterattack after 16 minutes.
Despite Arsenal dominating, the hosts equalized a minute before half-time after Mirlind Kryeziu sent Turner the wrong way.
In the same Group A, PSV Eindhoven drew against Bodø/Glimt 1-1.
Brazilian striker Nonato scored the late winner for Bulgarian club Ludogorets.
Following Jose Mourinho’s Roma triumph in the inaugural Europa Conference League last season, the manager is eyeing his third Europa League title following wins with Porto in 2003 and Manchester United in 2017.
Centre-forward Tammy Abraham was unavailable for Mourinho due to a shoulder problem.
Lazio put the result against Feyenoord without a doubt at the Stadio Olimpico Rome, scoring three goals in less than half an hour, with Luis Alberto, Felipe Anderson and Matías Vecino scoring one each. Vecino added his second in the second half before Santiago Gimenez netted two for the Dutch side.
Italian authorities have banned the Dutch club’s supporters from traveling to Rome after its supporters clashed with police and damaged a historic fountain during a 2015 trip to face Roma.
Michy Batshuayi came off the bench to give Fenerbahce a 2-1 win at home to Dynamo Kyiv.
Willian José converted a penalty in the first half and added another later for Real Betis’ 2-0 victory in Helsinki.
EUROPA CONFERENCE LEAGUE
West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen canceled out Andrei Cordea’s first-half strike by scoring from the spot before goals from Emerson and substitute Michail Antonio secured a win at the London Stadium, in a boost for the Hammers after a poor start to the Premier League season.
Francis Coquelin struck one minute from time for Villarreal to seal the win.
Villarreal were in the Champions League semi-finals four months ago but had to settle for the Europa Conference League after finishing seventh in Spain last season.
In the second edition of the Europa Conference League, teams from Kosovo, Liechtenstein and Lithuania gave their country a first-ever representative in the group stage of a UEFA competition.
All of their matches ended in a draw. Kosovo’s Ballkani drew 1-1 against Cluj, while Liechtenstein’s Vaduz and Lithuania’s Žalgiris were goalless against Apollon Limassol and Slovan Bratislava, respectively.
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Moreover, Scotland’s Hearts were beaten by Istanbul Başakşehir 4-0 in Edinburgh and Fabio Silva’s late penalty gave Anderlecht a 1-0 victory over Silkeborg.