The Malta Independent 24 October 2021, Sunday

Napoli lose despite early goal; Roma, Tottenham win

Associated Press Friday, 1 October 2021, 07:14 Last update: about 23 days ago

Taking the lead after just 11 seconds wasn't enough for Napoli to avoid a loss in the second round of Europa League group-stage matches on Thursday.

Eljif Elmas netted the early goal for Napoli — the second-quickest ever in UEFA's second-tier competition — but Spartak Moscow rallied to a 3-2 victory after both teams were reduced to 10 men.

Lazio, Lyon and West Ham also earned wins, while fan unrest led to the game between Marseille and Galatasaray being halted for about 10 minutes in the first half.

In the new third-tier Europa Conference League, Harry Kane netted a hat trick despite coming on as a substitute in a 5-1 victory over Slovenia’s FC Mura.

Stephan El Shaarawy scored seven minutes into the game to put Roma on course to a 3-0 away win at Ukraine’s Zorya Luhansk.

EUROPA LEAGUE

Elmas' goal was the fastest in the Europa League since Jan Sýkora of Czech side Liberec scored 10.69 seconds into a game at Qarabağ in 2016. But Mário Rui was shown a red card after a video review following a rough foul on Victor Moses in the first half and the visitors turned the game around after the break with two goals from Quincy Promes and substitute Mikhail Ignatov.

Spartak also finished the game with 10 men after Maximiliano Caufriez was sent off after receiving his second yellow card 10 minutes from time, but Promes added a second goal to extend the lead before Victor Osimhen pulled one back for Napoli in stoppage time.

In the same group, Mahir Emreli scored his eighth goal of the season for Legia Warsaw to beat Leicester 1-0 and give the Polish team a second straight win. Leicester and Napoli have one point each.

Fans were banned at Sparta Prague’s stadium during the Czech club’s 1-0 victory over Rangers due to their racist behavior but the hosts still had the support of some 10,000 children aged 6-14 who were allowed by UEFA in the stands.

In the second consecutive loss for the Scottish powerhouse, the young Sparta fans repeatedly booed Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara. The incident came after Ondrej Kudela from Sparta’s archrival, Slavia Prague, received a 10-match ban from UEFA after being found guilty of racially abusing the Finnish player.

Kamara was sent off after picking up his second yellow in the second half. Also in Group A, Lyon beat Danish club Broendby 3-0.

West Ham beat Rapid Vienna 2-0, with Declan Rice hitting the post before scoring the opening goal off a cross from Michail Antonio. Said Benrahma added the second in stoppage time.

The game between Marseille and Galatasaray was interrupted after rival fans threw flares and firecrackers at each other at Stade Velodrome.

Referee Paweł Raczkowski halted the match as some police then intervened to restore order. It resumed after about 10 minutes and ended in a 0-0 draw.

In the other Group E game, Lazio beat Lokomotiv Moscow 2-0.

EUROPA CONFERENCE LEAGUE

Defender Chris Smalling and substitute Tammy Abraham added a couple of second-half goals for Roma in the span of two minutes.

Roma has won eight of 10 matches across all competitions under Jose Mourinho. The new European tournament could allow Mourinho to complete a career treble after previously winning the Champions League and Europa League.

Including the playoff phase, Roma has won four of four matches in the Conference League with 13 goals scored and two conceded. In the Group C opener, Roma routed CSKA Sofia 5-1.

Tottenham bounced back from three straight losses in the Premier League with its first victory in the Conference League after a 2-2 draw at Rennes in the competition’s opener.

Dele Alli calmly converted from the spot four minutes into the game with Giovani Lo Celso netting from close range only four minutes later.

The victory was a relief for manager Nuno Espirito Santo, who initially rested Kane. The star striker came on before the hour mark and netted three goals between 68th and 87th minute.

The Conference League was set up to give clubs from smaller countries more chances to compete.

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