Victor Osimhen scored twice on Thursday as SSC Napoli came from 2-0 down to salvage a 2-2 draw at Leicester City, while Olympique Lyonnais cruised to a 2-0 win at Rangers on the opening night of the UEFA Europa League group stages.
Earlier, Celtic threw away a two-goal lead to lose 4-3 to Real Betis Balompie and West Ham United were convincing 2-0 winners away to Dinamo Zagreb.
Leicester just missed out on the Champions League for a second consecutive season as they finished fifth in the English Premier League last season, but the Foxes are keen to go further than their run to the round-of-32 of the Europa League last season and got off to a great start against the Italian giants.
Ayoze Perez fired home at the back post from Harvey Barnes’ cross after just nine minutes.
Patson Daka then saw his first Leicester goal ruled out by a video assistant referee (VAR) review for a marginal offside call, but Barnes quickly put that disappointment behind Brendan Rodgers’ men with an excellent finish to double Leicester’s lead.
Napoli boss Luciano Spalletti held nothing in reserve with his strongest side and the visitors responded in the final quarter thanks to Osimhen.
The Nigerian, who cost 70 million euros (US$82.5 million) from Lille OSC last year, brilliantly flicked the ball over the imposing presence of Jannik Vestegaard and Kasper Schmeichel to get Napoli back in the game.
Osimhen then outjumped Caglar Soyuncu to power home a header for a deserved equalizer.
Leicester’s night got even worse in stoppage-time when Wilfred Ndidi was sent off for a second bookable offense.
“The crime isn’t giving away the two goals, the crime is if you don’t learn from it,” Rodgers said. “I’m sure that is something this young team will do.”
At Ibrox, Lyon spoiled Steven Gerrard’s 50th European game in charge of Rangers.
Toko Ekambi curled home from long range to open the scoring midway through the first half and a goalmouth scramble early in the second ended with the ball ricocheting off Rangers captain James Tavernier into his own net.
“At the domestic level you can sometimes give the ball away in certain areas, but not at this level in the Europa League,” Gerrard said after Rangers were outclassed by the French side.
Celtic returned to Seville 18 years on from reaching the UEFA Cup final and got off to a dream start at the Benito Villamarin.
Albian Ajeti bundled home the opener thanks to a VAR review after the goal had initially been ruled out for handball, before Josip Juranovic buried his first Celtic goal from the penalty spot, but two goals in three minutes wiped out Celtic’s lead as Juan Miranda slotted home before Borja Iglesias unselfishly teed up Juanmi to equalize.
Iglesias completed the comeback with a near post flick early in the second half, before Juanmi’s shot flew in.
Anthony Ralston pulled a goal back three minutes from time to give Celtic some hope, but Betis held on for all three points.
“We had our moments in the game where it could have got away from them and unfortunately we didn’t do that,” Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou said. “They have some quality up front that punished us.”
Bayer 04 Leverkusen were also winners in Group G as the Germans came from behind to beat Ferencvaros 2-1 thanks to a second-half winner from 18-year-old Florian Wirtz.
West Ham enjoyed a far more comfortable return to Europe in the Croatian capital that had manager David Moyes dreaming of how far they can go.
“I’m really excited about the prospect of slightly not knowing how good they could be. We brought in some new players tonight and didn’t look any the worse for it,” Moyes said. “It’s only one game, but the players are in a good place.”
Michail Antonio pounced on a slack back-pass to continue his early season scoring streak with his fifth goal in as many games.
Declan Rice then galloped from inside his own half before producing a powerful finish five minutes into the second half.
Two women yesterday morning attempted to hang a banner from the Acropolis in Athens in protest at the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics, but were detained by Greek police. The women, 18-year-old Tibetan student Tsela Zoksang and 22-year-old exiled Hong Konger Joey Siu (邵嵐), both US citizens, are members of the “No Beijing 2022” campaign, a statement from the New York-based organization Students for a Free Tibet said. They, and a third person, entered the archeological site as paying customers, and then Zoksang and Siu climbed some scaffolding, from which they attempted to unfurl the banner. A security officer rushed to them and took
TREBLE CHANCE: Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei is eyeing a third title in the California desert after winning in 2014 with Peng Shuai and in 2018 with Barbora Strycova Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Belgian partner Elise Mertens on Thursday cruised into the women’s doubles final at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California. It took second seeds Hsieh and Mertens just 54 minutes to defeat Japanese third seeds Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara 6-2, 6-0 in the semi-finals to advance to their second final as a duo. Hsieh and Mertens denied the Japanese duo, winners of a WTA Tour-best five titles this year, a spot in their sixth final of the season as they broke serve five times and won the final nine games. “We’re very happy about the performance. Just
It is the world’s longest certified foot race: a 4,989km run that takes participants around the same New York block 5,649 times. Thousands of people have climbed Everest — but just 49 have completed the Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 3,100 Mile Race, organizers say. Runners finish more than two marathons a day for almost two months, on less than five hours of sleep a night. They cannot rely on changing scenery to keep them motivated as the route is a 883m loop on a concrete sidewalk around a high school in Jamaica, Queens. To mix things up a bit, they alternate between running clockwise
Sean Wainui, a rising star of Super Rugby with the Hamilton, New Zealand-based Chiefs, died yesterday in an automobile accident. He was 25 and the father of two children. His death was confirmed by family members and by New Zealand Rugby, which said “one of New Zealand Rugby’s tallest Totara trees has fallen.” Wainui played 44 matches for the Chiefs from 2018. He also played nine times for the Christchurch-based Crusaders and was a New Zealand Maori representative from 2015. Wainui scored five tries for the Chiefs against the New South Wales Waratahs in June, a Super Rugby record. Police said they were notified