Arsenal opens Europa League with win at Frankfurt

Last year’s Europa League finalist Arsenal started this year’s campaign on a winning note with a 3-0 away victory over 10-man Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday.

While Arsenal star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang added a late goal, it was academy products Joe Willock and Bukayo Saka who stood out by scoring one each before that.

Sevilla, the most successful team in Europe’s second-tier competition, also opened with a 3-0 victory at Qarabag while Kevin Bua struck twice to lead Basel to a 5-0 win over Krasnodar in Group C.

In late games, 2017 champion Manchester United returns to the competition with a home game against Astana and newcomer Wolverhampton Wanderers was hosting Braga.

Here’s a look at Thursday’s early games.

ARSENAL’S YOUNG GUNS

Arsenal manager Unai Emery started a trio of academy graduates, with Emile Smith Rowe, Saka and Willock forming a youthful attack together with Aubameyang. It was the 20-year old Willock who opened the scoring in the 38th with a deflected right-foot shot from inside the area, which bounced off the crossbar and into the net.

Frankfurt chased an equalizer before midfielder Dominik Kohr was ejected 11 minutes from time after picking his second yellow card for a tackle on Saka.

The 18-year-old Saka — who like Smith Rowe was making his first start of the season — doubled the lead with a precise left-footer from outside the area in the 85th before setting up Aubameyang to finish it off couple minutes later.

While Arsenal looked sharp up front, its defense look shaky throughout the game and Frankfurt missed a number of good chances to score — in part thanks to a couple of good saves from backup goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez.

Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka also hit the bar from a free kick.

Standard Liege started with a 2-0 win over Vitoria in the other Group F game.

SEVILLA SHINES

Javier Hernandez broke the deadlock in Baku in the 62nd minute with a curling free kick for Sevilla, the Europa League winners in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Forward Munir El Haddadi and Oliver Torres added one apiece.

In the highest-scoring game of the night, Luxembourg’s Dudelange upset host APOEL Nicosia 4-3 in Group A.

OTHER GROUPS

In Group E, Romanian champion Cluj came from a goal down to beat Lazio 2-1. Ciprian Deac equalized against the run of play from the spot after defender Bastos gave Italy’s cup winner the lead, before Billel Omrani scored the winner.

Celtic rescued a 1-1 draw at Rennes after Ryan Christie equalized from the spot in the 59th minute. M’Baye Niang had given Rennes the lead, also from the spot.

In Group B, Danish champion Copenhagen earned a 1-0 win over Lugano, while Dynamo Kyiv beat Malmo at home by the same score.

PSV Eindhoven edged past Sporting Lisbon 3-2 in Group D while newcomer LASK Linz won 1-0 against Rosenborg.

Source: FOX Sport

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