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Europa League: Spurs, Leicester win big

Europa League results

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 22: Gareth Bale of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates with teammate Carlos Vinicius after his sides second goal came from a own goal by Andres Andrade of LASK (not pictured) during the UEFA Europa League Group J stage match between Tottenham Hotspur and LASK at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on October 22, 2020 in London, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty I

Europa League group stage match days whip the head around even faster than the Champions League, more groups meaning more matches and plenty of little-known clubs angling to surprise.

[ MORE: Rangers score from own half ]

There weren’t too many upsets on Thursday, though Rapid Vienna, Celtic, and Young Boys did their best. AZ Alkmaar did deliver a “shades of Real Madrid-Shakhtar” result against Napoli, though the Neapolitans were dominant.

Celtic 1-3 AC Milan

The Scottish side needed to be at its best given the opposition and a number of absences but did not find its quality until it was down 2-0.

Rade Krunic and Brahim Diaz scored first-half goals for the Serie A leaders, who were coming off a big derby win just as the hosts were steaming from a derby loss.

Milan took Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Franck Kessie off with 24 minutes to play and Celtic really started its pursuit of a point, out-attempting the visitors 12-5 on the day.

Southampton loanee Mohamed Elyounoussi put Celtic back within a goal with 14 minutes to go, but no other goals arrived for Neil Lennon’s Bhoys and Milan new boy Jens Petter Hauge delivered a third goal just before the final whistle.

Leicester City 3-0 Zorya Luhansk

It was the Kelechi Iheanacho show in Leicester’s return to European competition, the Ukrainian visitors providing little challenge to Brendan Rodgers’ Foxes.

Iheanacho assisted first-half goals from James Maddison and Harvey Barnes before getting a goal of his own in the 67th minute.

Barnes is a lot of fun.

Napoli 0-1 AZ Alkmaar

One of the surprise results of the day saw a second-half goal from Dani de Wit joins six saves from Marco Bizot in stunning the Neapolitans, who out-attempted AZ 20-5.

Mexico’s Hirving Lozano was unable to recreate the scoring magic he found at the weekend, but registered three key passes in the loss.

Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 LASK Linz

Carlos Vinicius assisted two goals as Spurs labored a bit but did not cough up another multi-goal lead.

Lucas Moura scored 18 minutes in and an own goal doubled Spurs advantage before Heung-min Son completed the scoring late in North London.

The fullbacks, however, were the stars for Tottenham as Sergio Reguilon cued the rush for the first goal and Matt Doherty dominated the right flank.

Son played the final half-hour for Gareth Bale while Jose Mourinho was able to rest Harry Kane and Toby Alderweireld. Giovani Lo Celso made a cameo.

Here’s your nomination form for Sergio Reguilon as Europa League Player of the Year (We kid, mostly).

All Europa League group scores from Matchday 1

Group A

CSKA Sofia 0-2 CFR Cluj
Young Boys 1-2 AS Roma

Group B

Dundalk 1-2 Molde
Rapid Vienna 1-2 Arsenal — RECAP, VIDEO

Group C

Bayer Leverkusen 6-2 Nice
Hapoel Be’er Sheva 3-1 Slavia Prague

Group D

Lech Poznan 2-4 Benfica
Standard Liege 0-2 Rangers — Outrageous goal from Roofe

Group E

PAOK 1-1 Omonia
PSV Eindhoven 1-2 Granada

Group F

HNK Rijeka 0-1 Real Sociedad
Napoli 0-1 AZ Alkmaar

Group G

Leicester City 3-0 Zorya Luhansk
Sporting Braga 3-0 AEK Athens

Group H

Celtic 1-3 AC Milan
Sparta Prague 1-4 Lille -- USMNT’s Weah comes on late

Group I

Maccabi Tel Aviv 1-0 Qarabag
Villarreal 5-3 Sivasspor

Group J

Ludogorets Razgrad 1-2 Royal Antwerp
Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 LASK Linz

Group K

Dinamo Zagreb 0-0 Feyenoord
Wolfsberger 1-1 CSKA Moscow

Group L

Hoffenheim 2-0 Red Star Belgrade
Slovan Liberec 1-0 Gent