Europa League: Tottenham falls in Belgium; Leicester wins
The results were all over the map in the 1:55 pm ET kickoffs of Thursday’s Europa League action.
There were predictable wins for Hoffenheim, Leicester City, and AC Milan, let-offs for Lille and VIllarreal, and plenty of surprises including a Tottenham loss in Belgium.
[ 3 THINGS: Krasnodar – Chelsea ]
It was also a huge day for Austria, as Wolfsberger and LASK Linz scored four times each in wins.
Let’s dig in.
Royal Antwerp 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur
We did not see this coming, even with Jose Mourinho keeping many of his stars out of the Starting XI and the Belgian hosts beating Ludogorets Razgrad on Matchday 1.
Ex-Norwich City striker Dieumerci Mbokani knocked over makeshift center back Ben Davies and set up Lior Refaelov’s 29th-minute goal. Tottenham’s improved on a bad first half but never found an equalizer in Antwerp.
Mourinho made four halftime subs, bringing on Heung-min Son, Lucas Moura, Erik Lamela, and Pierre-Emili Hojbjerg for Giovani Lo Celso, Steven Bergwijn, and Serge Aurier. A dozen minutes later he pulled the chute on Gareth Bale and brought on Harry Kane.
None of the subs managed a shot on frame. Not an ideal place to drop points during a wildly-congested schedule.
AEK Athens 1-2 Leicester City
Two goals by halftime had the Foxes dreaming of easy street, as Jamie Vardy and Hamza Choudhury delivered a penalty and goal off a corner kick respectively.
But Muamer Tankovic scored four minutes after halftime and the Greek hosts finished with an edge in possession. Attacking midfielder Petros Mantalos assisted the goal and will have caught some the attention of plenty of neutrals.
Leicester improves to 2-0 in group play.
Lille 2-2 Celtic
Neil Lennon’s men nearly had the perfect response to an extended slump, opening up a 2-0 lead on a brace from Southampton loanee Mohamed Elyounoussi.
But Lille had an answer and held Celtic to a point, Zeki Celik and Jonathan Ikone scoring 12 minutes apart to level the score with 15 minutes to play.
Lille brought on USMNT forward and ex-Celtic man Timothy Weah in the 82nd minute, but he could not affect the outcome in his latest cameo.
AC Milan 3-0 Sparta Prague
Zlatan Ibrahimovic assisted an early goal but hit the bar with a penalty, but Milan had little to worry about at home.
Manchester United loanee Diogo Dalo had a goal and an assist to Rafael Leao, while ex-Man City man Brahim Diaz also scored to send Milan two points clear of Lille and five ahead of Celtic after two matches.
Zorya Luhansk 1-2 Braga
Qarabag 1-3 Villarreal
Sivasspor 1-2 Maccabi Tel Aviv
LASK Linz 4-3 Ludogorets Razgrad
CSKA Moscow 0-0 Dinamo Zagreb
Feyenoord 1-4 Wolfsberger
Red Star Belgrade 5-1 Slovan Liberec
Gent 1-4 Hoffenheim