West Ham sink Dinamo; Betis edge Celtic in thriller

West Ham began their Europa League campaign with a 2-0 win at Dinamo Zagreb in Group H while Celtic threw away a two-goal lead in a 4-3 defeat by Real Betis in Group G in the opening round of games on Thursday.
West Ham sink Dinamo; Betis edge Celtic in thriller

ZAGREB: West Ham began their Europa League campaign with a 2-0 win at Dinamo Zagreb in Group H while Celtic threw away a two-goal lead in a 4-3 defeat by Real Betis in Group G in the opening round of games on Thursday.

Red Star Belgrade, the 1991 European Cup winners, ground out a 2-1 home win over Portuguese rivals Braga while Bulgarians Ludogorets Razgrad earned a 1-1 draw at Danish side Midtjylland in Group F.

Michail Antonio gave West Ham a 22nd-minute lead in the Croatian capital when he rounded goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic and rolled the ball into an empty net after intercepting a poor back pass by Kevin Theophile-Catherine.

Declan Rice sealed the win with a fine individual effort in the 50th as he raced clear of his marker down the left from the halfway line and drilled the ball home through Livakovic's legs from eight metres.

A stoppage-time goal from Paul Onuachu gave Belgians Genk a 1-0 win at Rapid Vienna in the other Group H match.

A bundled goal by Albian Ajeti and a Josip Juranovic penalty gave Celtic a 2-0 lead at Betis inside the opening 27 minutes but their joy was short-lived as the home side were level eight minutes later through Juan Miranda and Juanmi.

Betis rocked the visitors with another two quickfire goals shortly after the break, nosing ahead through Borja Iglesias in the 50th minute before Juanmi netted his second two minutes later after a slick move.

Anthony Ralston set up a tense finish when he pulled one back for Celtic in the 87th minute but Betis held on to come out on top in the seven-goal thriller.

In the other Group G game, Bayer Leverkusen fought back for a 2-1 home win against Ferencvaros as Exequiel Palacios and Florian Wirtz cancelled out an early Ryan Mmaee opener for the Hungarian side.

Left back Milan Rodic fired Red Star ahead in the 75th minute and Braga hit back through Wenderson a minute later only for Aleksandar Katai to delight the fervent home fans with an 85th-minute penalty.

In Group E, a Thomas Strakosha own goal midway through the second half helped Galatasray to a 1-0 home win over Lazio while 10-man Lokomotiv Moscow earned a last-gasp 1-1 home draw with Olympique Marseille.

Having had Nayair Tiknizyan sent off early in the second half, Lokomotiv fell behind to a Cengiz Under penalty before Faustino Anjorin salvaged a point for the Russian side with an 89th-minute goal.

Napoli fight back to deny Leicester; Lyon sink Rangers

Striker Victor Osimhen scored a second-half brace as Napoli fought back to earn a 2-2 draw at Leicester City in a pulsating Europa League Group C clash, while Scottish champions Rangers suffered a 2-0 home defeat by Olympique Lyonnais in Group A.

Ayoze Perez fired Leicester into a ninth-minute lead when he side-footed home a perfect Harvey Barnes cross and Leicester soaked up pressure with goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel making several fine saves before they doubled their lead.

Napoli pressed but were caught cold in the 64th minute as Barnes took a defence-splitting pass by Kelechi Iheanacho in his stride and drilled a crisp low shot through keeper David Ospina's legs.

Nigerian Osimhen pulled one back five minutes later with a predator's finish as he pulled away from his marker and poked the ball over the advancing Schmeichel from close range.

With Leicester running out of steam, Osimhen rose above his markers to head home a Matteo Politano cross in the 87th minute and spark wild celebrations on the Napoli bench.

Karl Toko Ekambi curled in a delightful shot from 25 metres to give Lyon the lead at Rangers and visiting keeper Anthony Lopes denied Joe Arbo an equaliser with a superb reflex save.

Lyon sealed the win with a James Tavernier own goal as the ball ricocheted off the defender after a frantic goal-mouth scramble in the 55th minute.

In the other Group A match, Denmark's Brondby were held to a 0-0 home draw by Slavia Prague.

In Group B, 1988 European Cup winners PSV Eindhoven came from behind to force a 2-2 home draw with Real Sociedad and a Krepin Diatta goal gave Monaco a 1-0 win over visiting Sturm Graz.

Emerging talent Cody Gakpo salvaged a point for PSV after Adnan Januzaj and Alexander Isak cancelled out Mario Goetze's opener for the home side in a see-saw contest.

In Group D, Mesut Ozil gave Fenerbahce an early lead at Eintracht Frankfurt before Sam Lammers turned in a Filip Kostic cross to ensure a share of the spoils while Olympiakos Piraeus eked out a last-gasp 2-1 home win over Antwerp. Agencies

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