In Rennes, the Europa League is a party. But after a great epic, completed last season in the round of 16 against Arsenal, the new European campaign Bretons starts timidly. In a heated Roazhon Park, they had to concede a draw against another British team, Celtic Glasgow (1-1), in their first Group E game on Thursday 19 September.
"It has always been said that it would be a difficult hen, as shown by Cluj's victory over Lazio. We'll know later if we won a point or lost two points. "reacted Julien Stéphan, the Breton coach, about this match "Not mastered enough" by his players.
It was the home scorer, Mbaye Niang, who opened the penalty spot (37th), having been mowed in the box by Kristoffer Ajer. This advantage at the break was deserved, against strong Scots but without great genius, with the exception of their young French striker, Odsonne Edouard. The Bleuet trained at Paris SG could have opened the scoring on a volley (11th) or have Mohamed Elyounoussi score on a tight center (20th).
In the second half, the Celtic – reigning champion of Scotland all the same – moved up a gear, playing higher and looking for the Bretons' fault. The Rennes team remained vigilant, launching some cons in the open spaces by the Scots. But shortly before the hour of the game the referee has designated the penalty for a foul, not obvious for the public of Brittany, Da Silva on James Forrest, after a failed recovery. Ryan Christie has transformed and equalized (59th).
In the end of the game, and despite the exclusion of the Celtic player, Vakoun Issouf Bayo for a sole on the face of the Rennes goalkeeper, Edouard Mendy, the Bretons will not find the flaw. A last Scottish raid (90th + 2) did not change the case. It was time to whistle the end of the game muscular, intense, full of mistakes and ultimately frustrating for both teams. "We were a better team, we could have won it", even judged Neil Lennon, the Celtic coach.
The disappointment is even stronger for Saint-Etienne, the other French club involved in the Europa League. Two years after the end of his last European adventure, the Asse suffered the law of the Belgians of Ghent (3-2). Coldly picked by an early goal from Jonathan David (2nd), the St Etienne have seen their dominance shatter the clinical effectiveness of the Ghent counterattacks, and are forced to let slip their executioner of the day at the top of Group I, Wolfsburg German company, Oleksandria (3-1).
While nearly 1,000 green supporters were able to expect a favorable result when Wahbi Khazri (39th) responded to the opening goal, the Ghent striker showered their illusions four minutes later by signing his second goal of the night.
More menacing after the break, Ghislain Printant's men were again cut short in the 64th minute with a goal by captain Loïc Perrin, allowing the Belgian club to lead 3-1.
Despite an unintentional helping hand from Ghent goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski, also scorer against his will with a blunder on a pass behind teammate Igor Plastun (74), the Greens have failed to return to the score.
With this first loss of their history against a Belgian team, the Saint Etienne dive a little more into doubt, before a dangerous trip to Angers this weekend. In a competition with which they have a rich history, the Greens not only missed an opportunity to wipe out their losses in Ligue 1 (15th with five points in as many games), but they also see their direct opponents for the first two places qualifiers take three units in advance.
Crucial for first place in the group, the reception of Wolfsburg Geoffroy-Guichard also becomes for the survival of the Greens in the Europa League. Imperative victory in two weeks, on pain of seeing the Cauldron growling.
Favorites at the rendezvous
In the other games of the evening, Arsenal, who was moving to Frankfurt in one of the big posters of the evening, has run thanks to his young Joseph Willock, 20, Bukayo Saka, 18, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (3-0). The Gunners, delicacy in the league (two wins and one defeat and two draws), take advantage of Europe to rebound and take the lead in their group.
Same score for Sevilla FC away against Azeris from Qarabag. And three great Andalusian goals: a magnificent free kick by Mexican rookie Javier'Chicharito'Hernandez, a subtle ball pitted by Munir El Haddadi and a chisel by Oliver Torres.
Manchester United have struggled to win against Astana 1-0 thanks to one of his young men, Mason Greenwood, who scored his first career goal at age 17.
A total of 75 goals were scored in 24 games for the first day of the UEFA Europa League, including goals from AS Roma against Basaksehir (4-0), Basel vs. Krasnodar (5-0) and Ludogorets against CSKA Moscow (5-1).
Finally for Luxembourg, the evening was historic. At the end of an epic encounter in Nicosia, the modest Dudelange FC won 4-3 on the ground of the Apoel at the end of an incredible scenario. Leading at first 2-0, the Luxembourgish grand poucet saw the Cypriots pass ahead with three goals in four minutes … But Dudelange had the resources to equalize and then sign the first victory of a Luxembourg club in the Europa League finals , he who had already been the first club of the Grand Duchy qualified in C3 last year.