Tag Archives: group stage

Gattuso continues wait for first win after Milan lose away to Rijeka

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AC Milan boss Gennaro Gattuso says the club’s “shirt deserves respect” after a “burning defeat” by Rijeka as his team concluded their Europa League group stage fixtures with a loss.

Gattuso, 39, has previously managed Sion, Palermo, OFI Crete, Pisa and Milan’s youth team, but was especially unhappy with £33m summer signing Andre Silva, who has yet to score in Serie A.

“He struggled. He looked like a foreign object in the team,” said the former Italian national. “When you have the opportunity to play for 90 minutes wearing AC Milan’s shirt you have to do more.”

Already assured of top spot in Group D, Gattuso made changes, for only his second game in charge, with their Europa League last-32 slot already guaranteed — but he was not impressed.

AC Milan failed to put a single shot on target, with midfielder Manuel Locatelli set to miss the first leg of the round of 32 after picking up a booking.

“I was expecting more, this was a pretty poor show,” he said. “We need to turn things around and a change in mentality. We need more intensity and desire and all these things weren’t there.”

“We needed a win as a morale booster. Sunday’s (Serie A) match against Bologna is now even more important and we can’t make any mistakes.”

Croatian side Rijeka, who were already eliminated, won 2-0 thanks to goals from Jakov Puljic and Mario Gavranovic.

Puljic gave the hosts the lead in the seventh minute by curling in a free kick out of the reach of goalkeeper Marco Storari, while Gavranovic bundled the ball over the line from six yards early in the second half.

“I take full responsibility for the choices I made,” said Gattuso. “I would make them again as we have to play important games every three days. We tried to give some playing time to those who needed it.

“This is how things have been going lately, unfortunately, we concede at the first opportunity. The boys gave it all, trying to play differently, but it wasn’t enough.”

Champions League: Arsenal finishes as group winners

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Arsenal finished top of Champions League Group A thanks to a Lucas Perez hat-trick in Basel and Paris St-Germain’s draw with Ludogorets Razgrad.

PSG would have sealed top spot with victory, with anything less allowing in the Gunners, who took control through two tap-ins from Perez.

Perez drove in his third from the edge of the box and Alex Iwobi rolled in a fourth before Seydou Doumbia cut through for a Basel consolation, ending the game at 4-1.

While there is the unwelcome possibility of meeting Bayern Munich, Real Madrid or Borussia Dortmund in the last 16, Arsene Wenger took heart from ending as section winners.

“We can still have a difficult draw, so it will still be difficult, but you go forward with less guilt when you finish first,” said the Arsenal manager.

The result also left Basel rock bottom in the group, concluding their European journey prematurely. Ludogorets Razgard, who drew with PSG in thrilling fashion, would move to play in the Europa League.

PSG needed to win or match Arsenal’s result, but trailed twice after goals from Virgil Misidjan and Wanderson. Edinson Cavani’s overhead kick levelled at 1-1, and a 92nd-minute strike from Angel di Maria rescued a point at 2-2.

But the French champions squandered 25 shots and 63% of possession to finish behind Arsenal, allowing the Bulgarian team, who finished third in the group, to continue their presence in Europe.

Miserable Internazionale crashes out of Europa League

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It was a stunning triumph for Hapoel Be’er Sheva as the Israeli club rose from behind to defeat Internazionale by 3-2 and eliminate the Italian side from the Europa League.

Inter already to survive an early scare when Maor Buzaglo’s deflected cross hit the top of the crossbar, but was able to change the game and threaten at the other end when Ever Banega flashed a free-kick across goal.

Icardi ensured another quality cross was not wasted, tidily finishing Eder’s fizzing centre at the near post in the 12th minute.

The Milan club then took full control of the game after 25 minutes, when Brozovic lashed home a left-footed shot from the edge of the box off the post after more good work from Eder.

However, Lucio Maranhao gave Hapoel a second-half lifeline with a fine header from Maharan Radi’s cross. Home fans were further roused after Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic was sent off for bringing down Buzaglo.

Substitute keeper Juan Carrizo got a hand to Anythony Nwakaeme’s spot-kick but could not keep it out, and Hapoel levelled with 20 minutes remaining.

Carrizo kept the hosts at bay with a number of saves but was beaten three minutes into stoppage time for Hapoel’s winner. In an inspired team effort, John Ogu’s pass cut Inter open, and Mohammed Ghadir backheeled to give Ben Sahar a simple finish.

In what was a result that left the rest of Group K wide open, Inter looked set to keep alive their hopes of reaching the last 32, only to end up eliminated from the competition entirely with one game of the group stage remaining.

It also meant that Hapoel, who will next face Southampton in September 8, has to trump the Saints to keep their Europa campaign alive.

United thrashes Feyenoord thanks to Rooney leadership

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Wayne Rooney scored his 248th goal for Manchester United as Jose Mourinho’s team made short work of Dutch side Feyenoord and win 4-0.

The result also moves the Red Devils to within a point of the Europa League knockout stage, and the captain to just one more strike from equalling Sir Bobby Charlton’s record for the club.

It was also Rooney’s 39th European goal for the club, as he clipped the ball over opposition keeper Brad Jones from Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s perfect through ball – with Feyenoord appealing unsuccessfully for offside.

Clearly intent on sending a message to critics pouncing on his recent underwhelming performances, Rooney contributed again by setting up Juan Mata with a reverse pass to slide home United’s second.

£26m summer signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan also produced an impressive show in what was only his second start for the club. His best moment came when he ran from his own half, taking on several Feyenoord defenders, before going down under pressure from Jens Toornstra. The Dutch champions were fortunate the referee did not give a free-kick, which would also have resulted in a red card.

Eitherway, the win was essentially secured when former Liverpool keeper Jones deflected Ibrahimovic’s cross into his own net, while Jesse Lingard, who later came on for Mkhitaryan curled in a fourth in injury time to complete Jose Mourinho’s biggest win as United manager.

As the final whistle blew at Old Trafford, a draw or win at Zorya Luhansk in the final Group A game on Thursday, 8 December would take United into the last 32.