There was a full slate of Europa League games on Thursday night with DeAndre Yedlin and Mark McKenzie savoring victories with their respective teams.

Galatasaray 1 – 0 Lazio

DeAndre Yedlin and Galatasaray opened up their European campaign at home against Italian side Lazio and came away with a hard fought 1-0 victory.  Their American defender went the distance in this one in Istanbul.

The only goal of the game came in the second half and unfortunately for the visitors they scored it but in the wrong net, thanks to Thomas Strakosha.

The Turks were lucky not to go down a man early in the game when Ciro Immobile played the ball forward to Manuel Lazzari who beat the offside trap.  As he charged towards the box, Fernando Muslera came flying out of his box and stuck out a leg that missed the ball completely, sending the Italian sprawling to the ground.  To the relief of the home fans, only a yellow card came out of the referee’s pocket. 

In the 23rd minute it should have been one-nil to the Turks when a cross into the box found Olimpiu Morutan.  The Romanian hit it first time but could only rattle the cross bar. 

Luis Alberto was denied around the hour mark after his low shot was pushed away by Muslera to deny the Spaniard.  This was followed at the other end by Muhammed Aktürkoğlu’s shot that just flew wide of the near post.

Although the home team picked up the pace and had a few more sniffs at goal, the game winner came from what should have been not even a save but just the Lazio keeper catching an easy high ball that was kicked by an Italian defender.  All Strakosha had to do was catch it on his line but instead the Albanian palmed it into his own net.  He seemed to be in two minds whether to catch it or push it over his bar.  He did neither.

Hoping their luck continues into league action, Galatasaray will welcome Alanyaspor to Turk Telecom Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Bayer Leverkusen 2 – 1 Ferencvaros

Henry Wingo went the distance for Ferencvaros when they travelled to Germany to take on Bayer Leverkusen but came away with nothing after taking an early lead that they couldn’t hold onto. Belgian striker Ryan Mmaee struck after only eight minutes but first and second half goals from Argentinian Exequeil Palacios and Florian Wirtz sealed the victory for the Germans.

Tokmac Nguen was played forward and as the Kenyan made his way into the 18 yard box with no sight of goal, he slide a short pass to his Belgian colleague who tapped it in from a couple of yards out for an 8th minute goal that caught the Bayer boys napping.

As the Germans tried to recover, the Hungarians continued to come forward and WIngo was unlucky to see Lukas Hrádecký  get down quickly and push away his shot that was heading into the back of the net. 

As the hosts got back into the game, in the 37th minute they came charging down the field and from the right of the goal Jeremie Fringpong pulled the ball back to Palacios, who struck it from the top of the 18 yard box and found the back of the net for his first European goal. 

The Hungrians thought that they had regained the lead a couple of minutes later but the VAR said “no” to this one to keep the score level.  But it only stayed that way until the 69th minute when Fringpong picked up his second assist of the night, this time after a bad defensive pass that the Dutchman stole, charged forward and played it into the center of the box for Wirtz, who easily slotted it into the back of the net for the game winner.

Wingo and company have a couple of days to curse their bad luck before traveling to take on FC Halvan in league action.

Real Betis 4 – 3 Celtic

It was a goal fest in Spain as Cameron Carter Vickers went the distance for his Scottish team in a losing effort.  Celtic had a two goal lead that they were unable to hold onto as the Spaniards came storming back. 

Albian Ajeti got the proceedings underway after just 13 minutes with Joao Jota’s cross into the box from the right flank picking out his Swiss team mate who was sandwiched between a pair of defenders.  He did however manage to directed the shot past the keeper for the lead.

Celtic were awarded a penalty after the Betis keeper, Claudio Bravo made a crazy tackle on Ajeti that saw the Chilean pick up a yellow card.  Josip Juranović put it into the back of the net.

In the 32nd minute the Scottish boys were unable to get the ball out of their box, so Juan Miranda snatched it and struck from close range past Joe Hart to get his team back into the game.  Two minutes later Juanmi tapped in the equalizer.

Five minutes after the intermission Betis took the lead from Borja Iglesias strike, followed by another two minutes later, another from Juanmi.

Anthony Ralston found the back of the net in the 87th minute for the Hoops but it was too little too late.  The Glaswegians will return home and look forward to their trip to take on Livingston in order to get back to winning ways.

Rapid Vienna 0 – 1 Genk

Mark McKenzie and his Belgian team headed to the Austrian capital to take on Rapid Vienna and managed a solitary goal that gave them all the points in their first Europa League game of the campaign.  The American really played the full game though came off in the 93rd minute. 

The goal came a minute before the American’s substitution when Paul Onuachu passed the ball out to the right flank for Junya Ito.  The Japanese man then returned the ball to his Nigerian team mate who managed to get himself into the box, scoring from six yards out. 

With smiles on their faces, the Belgian team returns home but will travel the relatively short distance to take on Chris Durkin and Sint-Truiden on Sunday afternoon.

Notes:

Christian Cappis made a 69th minute appearance for Brøndby when they hosted Sparta Prague but he couldn’t influence the game enough to help the Copenhagen team find the back of the net.  Fortunately neither did the Czechs as this one ended scoreless.  Up next however will be a trip to take on SønderjyskE in league action.

Konrad de la Fuente came off the bench in the second half as Marseille picked up a big away point against Lokomotiv Moscow.  The Russians scored in the 89th minute making it 1-1 and denying the Frenchmen all the points.  On Sunday OM gets to stay at home as they welcome Rennes to their Mediterranean city.

Tim Chandler started on the bench and stayed there for the duration as Frankfurt managed to rescue a point against Fenerbahce after an early Mezit Ozil strike.  The game ended 1-1.  Frankfurt have  just a couple of days to recover as they’ll travel to Wolfsburg on Sunday for some Bundesliga action.

Sam Vines didn’t make the trip to Greece when his Royal Antwerp team took on Olympiakos and lost by a 2-1 scoreline.  They’ll hope for a better result when they return to league action on Sunday afternoon at home against RFC Seraing.

By Michael Adubato

The old man of Yanks-Abroad, having been around since the very beginning in 2004, Known as the resident Belgian expert since that’s where he has lived for a couple of decades. Over the years he has interviewed Nats such as Kasey Keller, Brian McBride, Oguchi Onyewu, Jozy Altidore and Tim Weah, to name a few. When not working the day job, he can often be found in stadiums around Europe, watching games from the top flight to the lower leagues. To prove that he is not just a pretty face, Mike received a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Maryland and a Masters from the University of Oklahoma. Boomer Sooner! On a non-soccer note, Adubato has just released a book of poetry from his travels, Missing the Exit, published by Broken Keys Publishing in Ottawa, Canada. So that must make him the YA poet laureate! You can grab your copy on Amazon.com, order online and pick it up and Barnes & Noble or get an e-copy at various outlets.

One thought on “Europa League Recap: Mixed fortunes for Americans”
  1. Enjoyed reading the articles from all of the writers, even though I can’t make those matches after reading it I feel like I am there.

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