La Liga trio frustrated but avoid defeat – UEFA Europa LeagueNovember 8, 2018
Sevilla were the only La Liga side to pick up all three points in the Europa League on Thursday, but they were made to work for their win by Akhisar Belediyespor.
The Spaniards began strongly and went close after five minutes when Nolito’s shot from a corner was well stopped by home keeper Milan Lukac.
It would only be another seven minutes however before they took the lead with Nolito this time finding the net, stroking Luis Muriel’s cross into the corner.
Quincy Promes was next to go close when his powerful shot was kept out by Lukac again.
Los Nervionenses doubled their lead before the break when Promes jinked in between the defenders before getting his shot away with the ball falling for Muriel on the line to tap home number two.
After the 6-0 drubbing handed out to the Turks in the clash at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, many would have expected another heavy win but instead it was Akhisarspor who got the game’s third goal.
Elvis Manu burst away down the left wing before cutting inside Ibrahim Amadou and Joris Gnagnon and finding the far corner of the net.
Four minutes later Manu got in to the box again where he was brought down by Sergi Gomez who was shown his second yellow card and given his marching orders with the hosts given a penalty.
Guray Vural stepped up to the spot-kick but although his shot beat Tomas Vaclik, it didn’t beat the post.
With 12 minutes left, the home side completed the comeback with Vural making up for his penalty miss by crossing for Onur Ayik to head the ball into the corner of the net.
Akhisarspor attacked in search of a third goal to pick up their first win of the group but it was Sevilla who got the deciding goal when Franco Vazquez was tripped in the box by Miguel Lopes with Ever Banega doing what Vural could not by slamming the ball into the corner.
In the group’s other game, Krasnodar came from behind to beat Standard Liege 2-1 in Russia. That leaves the Russian’s and Spaniard’s joint top on nine points with Standard on six and Akhisarspor pointless. On Matchday five, Krasnodar host Akhisarspor while Sevilla travel to Belgium.
Real Betis were held to a 1-1 draw at the Benito Villamarin by AC Milan in a match they’ll feel they should have won.
Like city rivals Sevilla, it took Betis 12 minutes to open the scoring with a brilliant team move involving half the team ending with Junior Firpo’s cross from the left being volleyed home by Giovani Lo Celso.
Lo Celso almost turned provider when he laid the ball off to Joaquin but the winger’s shot was cleared by Ricardo Rodriguez.
Firpo then put in another cross from the left but this time Antonio Sanabria’s toe poked effort went agonisingly wide of the post.
It was a quiet start to the second half but on 59 minutes, Milan almost made it 1-1 when Suso’s curling effort was magnificently tipped over the bar by Pau Lopez.
Three minutes later though, the Serie A side did level the scores. Suso swung in a free kick from the right which evaded everyone and found the corner of the net.
Marco Mussachio had to be stretchered off for the Rossoneri when he was knocked out cold after a collision with team mate Franck Kessie.
Betis were the threatening side as the game entered the final stages with Firpo going close when he dinked the ball over Pepe Reina but unfortunately for him the ball dropped wide with Reina then denying Cristian Tello soon after as the game ended all square.
Elsewhere in Group F, Olympiacos were 5-1 winners at home to Dudelange as they moved level on points with Milan, one behind Betis.
AC Milan are at home to Dudelange in the next set of fixtures while Betis welcome Olympiacos to the Villamarin.
Villarreal moved top of Group G despite a frustrating draw in Austria against Rapid Vienna.
Santiago Caseres went close for the Yellow Submarine early on when his shot through a crowd of players was pushed behind by Richard Strebinger before Nicola Sansone saw his shot saved when he was one-on-one with the keeper soon after.
Strebinger was called into action again when Sansone and Dani Raba combined to force the ball goalwards but he managed to stop it low to his right.
Rapid came close at the start of the second period when Valon Berisha’s cross was flicked goalwards by Andrija Pavlovic but the ball clipped the outside of the post.
Christoph Knasmuellner saw his powerful strike kept out by Andres Fernandez with Santi Cazorla then dragging his shot wide for the away side as the match petered out to a draw.
Spartak Moscow are up to second after beating Rangers 4-3 in a thriller at the Otkritie Arena ahead of their clash with Rapid Vienna on matchday five while Villarreal are off to Glasgow.
Akhisar Belediyespor 2-3 Sevilla
Rapid Vienna 0-0 Villarreal
Real Betis 1-1 AC Milan