STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Milan withstood a late attack, defeating Celtic 3-1, as EZ Alkmaar beat 13 players with positive tests for Covid-19 to clinch a surprise 1-0 victory over Napoli as the European League group stage kicked off. Thursday.
Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal of London started winning, as did fellow Premier League teammate Leicester City.
The Dutch team Alkmaar came under pressure throughout the match as Napoli dominated the ball and shot his goal, but Danny De Witt scored in the 57th minute to seal a stunning win in Group Six.
With Milan’s defense well organized by Danish center back Simon Kier, it seemed that they were on their way to an easy win over Celtic after first-half goals from Radi Kronic and Brahim Diaz.
But the Scottish champion returned strongly in the second half and narrowed the difference through Mohamed El Younousi. Milan needed a late Jens Petter Hauge goal, his first for the club, to knock out the Group H match.
Celtic disappointment summed up by midfielder Ryan Christie. He said, “I lost tonight, I felt that we could have moved forward and got a draw, but there are positives that can be learned from the second half.”
Villarreal and Sivaspor of Turkey played a thrilling eight-goal game in Group A, with the Spanish team snatching a 5-3 victory thanks to a late double from striker Paco Alcacer.
He was succeeded by Arsenal, who had not won a European title since lifting the Old Cup Winners’ Cup in 1994, at Rapid Vienna but defender David Luiz and striker Pierre Emerick Aubameyang fell behind in a 2-1 victory in the second set.
Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League achieved comfortable 3-0 victories, as the Foxes defeated visiting Ukrainian team Zorya Luhansk in Group G, while Tottenham beat their Austrian counterpart in Group Six.
Tottenham’s impressive performance, including the assist from Gareth Bale in his debut at the club on loan from Real Madrid, propelled the London team that lost the 2019 UEFA Champions League Final to Liverpool.
“We went there today and did a great job. “We were tough and dangerous and the most important thing in these matches in the beginning was to get the three points,” Bale told BTS.
Bayer Leverkusen attacked French side Nice 6-2, as winger Karim Bellaraby scored two goals late for the hosts in the third set.
Roma came back from trailing with a goal to defeat the Young Boys of Switzerland 2-1 away thanks to two goals in five minutes in the second half by Bruno Perez and Marach Kumbula in the first set.
Spain’s Granada and Real Sociedad enjoyed a 2–1 and 1-0 away win over Eindhoven and Rijeka of Croatia in Groups E and F, respectively, while Benfica won 4-2 over Lech Poznan and Rangers beat Standard 2-0. Liège in the group d.
(Prepared by Philip O’Connor; Editing by Ken Ferris)