Antwerp shock Tottenham, Arsenal and Milan win 3-0 in Europa League

Berlin: Tottenham Hotspur suffered a shock 1-0 defeat at Antwerp in the Europa League on Thursday while their north London Premier League rivals Arsenal enjoyed a 3-0 win over Dundalk.
Spurs were favourites in Belgium but Lior Rafaelov’s strike was the difference between the two sides. Arsenal made no such slip-up with goals from Eddie Nketiah, JoeWillock and Nicolas Pepe securing the three points.
AC Milan beat Sparta Prague 3-0 despite a missed Zlatan Ibrahimovic penalty and Napoli won 1-0 at Real Sociedad. Jordi Gomez’s strike from his own half did not prevent Omonia’s 2-1 defeat to PSV Eindhoven and there was a poignant minute of silence for the victims of Thursday’s terror attack in France ahead of Nice’s 1-0 victory over Hapoel Beer-Sheva.
Jose Mourinho rotated his Spurs side but still included Gareth Bale and Dele Alli. Heung Min Son and Harry Kane were later introduced but goalkeeper Jean Butez was rarely called upon as Rafaelov’s goal proved the winner. Antwerp top Group J with six points, with Tottenham ahead of LASK on goal difference. The latter won a thriller 4-3 against Ludogorets despite losing LukasGrgic to a red card.
Husein Balic, Andreas Gruber, Marko Raguz and an Olivier Verdon own-goal put the Austrian side 4-1 ahead, and they held on despite Elvis Manu completing his hat-trick.
“What we put on the pitch today was incredible. We fought hard, we gave our lives to win each duel. It’s nothing but a well-deserved victory tonight for us’’, said Antwerp defender Ritchie de Laet.
Mourinho said of his selection: “You know what our best team is. I always like to think the players deserve an opportunity. “It’s also their opportunity to catch the chance with both hands and ask for more. Tonight, my future choices are going to be very easy.” Irish minnows Dundalk made Arsenal wait but cracked just before half-time. Nketiah punished Gary Rogers’ mistake, and Willock calmly slotted in to make it 2-0.
A brilliant curled effort from Nicolas Pepe ended the contest before the second half had properly begun. The Gunners are level with Molde at the top of Group B after Oji Omoijanfo’s tap-in earned the Norwegians a 1-0 victory over RapidVienna.
“We knew about the difficulties of the opposition, we knew we needed to be patient’’, Arsenal right back Cedric Soares told “We waited, we kept going, everyone was giving their best and once we scored the first goal, we immediately got the second and the game opened up, so it was a good performance.”
AC Milan were comfortable winners against Sparta Prague. Brahim Diaz opened the scoring, but Ibrahimovic’s penalty hit the bar before half-time. Rafael Leao’s strike after replacing Ibrahimovic and Diogo Dalotspared the blushes of the veteran Swede, who could afford to laugh at his miss.
Milan top Group H ahead of Lille after the Ligue 1 side came from behind to draw 2-2 with Celtic. Mohamed Elyounoussi’s first-half brace put Les Dogues in difficulty, but Zeki Celik and Jonathan Ikone earned parity for the hosts who had missed a penalty through Jonathan David. Napoli recovered from their opening defeat at AZ Alkmaar as Matteo Politano’s deflected brought victory in Sociedad. But the performance ended on a sour note when Victor Osimhen was sent off.
Alkmaar continued their impressive start to Group F with a 4-1 win against Rijeka on goals from Teun Koopmeiners, Jesper Karlsson andtwo from Albert Gudmundsson before Sandro Kulenovic’s consolation.
Feyenoord v Wolfsberg ended 4-1 to the visitors, as did Gent v Hoffenheim, who picked up their first-ever away win in Europe. Wolfsberg lead Group K by two points over CSKA Moscow and Dinamo Zagreb who drew 0-0 while Hoffenheim top Group L ahead of Red Star Belgrade, who are second on goal difference after beating Slovan Liberec 5-1.
Benfica and Rangers are perfect in Group D after 3-0 and 1-0 wins over Standard Liege and Lech Poznan while Cluj and Roma share the lead in Group A after drawing 1-1 with Young Boys and 0-0 with CSKA Sofia.
Everyone in Group C is on three points after Slavia Prague beat 10-man Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 and Amine Gouiri gave Nice an emotional victory over Hapoel. Granada lead Group E on four points having been held 0-0 by PAOK while PSV are one behind after a late win in Nicosia. Leicester and Braga both won 2-1 at AEK Athens and Zorya to lead Group G on six points while Villarreal (3-1 at Qarabag) and MaccabiTel Aviv (2-1 v Sivasspor) top Group I. — dpa