Europa League 2018: Latest Tables, Scores After Thursday's Group Matches

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistSeptember 20, 2018

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 20:  Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal celebrates after scoring his team's third goal with Henrikh Mkhitaryan of Arsenal during the UEFA Europa League Group E match between Arsenal and Vorskla Poltava at Emirates Stadium on September 20, 2018 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images)
Henry Browne/Getty Images

Premier League giants Arsenal and Chelsea opened their UEFA Europa League campaigns with victories on Thursday as the Gunners demolished Vorskla 4-2 and the Blues edged PAOK 1-0 in their visit to Greece.

Five-time Europa League champions Sevilla also ignited their search for a sixth crown in superb fashion on Thursday after they opened their 2018-19 account by battering Standard Liege 5-1.

Scotland's two titans enjoyed good fortune as Celtic rose late to bag a 1-0 winner against Norway's Rosenborg. Steven Gerrard's Rangers snatched a valuable point from their trip to Villarreal, meanwhile, as Scott Arfield and Kyle Lafferty scored to twice pull the Scots from behind to give them early hope in Group G.

They weren't the only comeback story in Thursday's round of early results, however, as 10-man Eintracht Frankfurt responded from a goal down to beat Marseille 2-1 in France.

RB Leipzig scored twice in the second half to level from two goals down against Red Bull Salzburg, only for their Austrian sister company to secure a 90th-minute winner. Fellow Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen travelled to Ludogorets Razgrad and came out on the better side of their own 3-2 result.

Read on for a breakdown of Thursday's opening round of Europa League results, complete with highlights of the best action and a look at the updated group standings.

        

Thursday's Results

Akhisarspor 0-1 Krasnodar

Besiktas 3-1 Sarpsborg 08

Dynamo Kiev 2-2 Astana

Genk 2-0 Malmo

Lazio 2-1 Apollon Limassol

Vidi FC 0-2 BATE Borisov

Marseille 1-2 Eintracht Frankfurt

PAOK 0-1 Chelsea

Rapid Vienna 2-0 Spartak Moscow

Rennes 2-1 Jablonec

Sevilla 5-1 Standard Liege

Villarreal 2-2 Rangers

AEK Larnaca 0-1 FC Zurich

Arsenal 4-2 FC Vorskla Poltava

Celtic 1-0 Rosenborg

Dinamo Zagreb 4-1 Fenerbahce

Dudelange 0-1 AC Milan

FC Copenhagen 1-1 Zenit St. Petersburg

Ludogorets Razgrad 2-3 Bayer Leverkusen

Olympiakos 0-0 Real Betis

RB Leipzig 2-3 Salzburg

Slavia Prague 1-0 Bordeaux

Sporting CP 2-0 Karabakh

Trnava 1-0 Anderlecht

         

Group Standings (Points, Goal Difference)

Group A

1. Bayer Leverkusen: 3, +1

2. AEK Larnaca: 3, +1

3. Zurich: 0, -1

4. Ludogorets Razgrad: 0, -1

           

Group B

1. Red Bull Salzburg: 3, +1

2. Celtic: 3, +1 

3. RB Leipzig: 0, -1

4. Rosenborg0, -1

         

Group C

1. Slavia Prague: 3, +1

2. Copenhagen: 1, 0

3. Zenit St. Petersburg: 1,0

4. Bordeaux: 0, -1

          

Group D 

1. Dinamo Zagreb: 3, +3

2. Spartak Trnava: 3, +1

3. Anderlecht: 0, -1

4. Fenerbahce: 0, -3

        

Group E

1. Arsenal: 3, +2

2. Sporting CP: 3, +2

3. Vorskla: 0, -2

4. Qarabag: 0, -2

     

Group F

1. AC Milan: 3, +1 

2. Real Betis: 1, 0

3. Olympiakos: 1, 0

4. Dudelange: 0, -1

     

Group G

1. Villarreal: 3, +2

2. Spartak Moscow: 1, 0

3. Rangers: 1, 0

4. Rapid Vienna: 0, -2

        

Group H

1. Lazio: 3, +1

2. Marseille: 3, +1

3. Eintracht Frankfurt: 0, -1

4. Apollon Limassol: 0, -1

           

Group I

1. Besiktas: 3, +2

2. Genk: 3, +2

3. Sarpsborg 08: 0, -2

4. Malmo: 0, -2

          

Group J

1. Sevilla: 3, +4

2. Krasnodar: 3, +1

3. Akhisarspor: 0, -1

4. Standard Liege: 0, -4

               

Group K

1. Rennes: 3, +1

2. Astana: 1, 0

3. Dynamo Kiev: 1, 0

4. Jablonec: 0, -1

             

Group L

1. BATE Borisov: 3, +2

2. Chelsea: 3, +1

3. PAOK: 0, -1

4. Vidi: 0, -2

Visit the UEFA website to see the group tables in full.

         

Recap

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang carved out his place as the executioner in Unai Emery's Europa League lineup on Thursday and dispatched two goals alongside Mesut Ozil and Danny Welbeck to secure a first Group E victory.

Fans at the Emirates Stadium will have been hoping for a statement victory against their Ukrainian opponents, and Aubameyang helped deliver that, starting with a swift counter, via BT Sport (UK only):

Sporting CP beat Azerbaijani side Qarabag 2-0 in the other Group E matchup to lift the Lions to second, and only after their first encounter with Arsenal on October 25 will they have a sense of their chances of clinching first.

Arsenal may have had the goals, but the biggest drama of the evening unfolded at Leipzig, where new manager Ralf Rangnick's inconsistent run of form continued with a 3-2 home defeat. It's ironic that sister club Salzburg could have a hand in ousting the underperforming boss, as hinted at by commentator Kevin Hatchard: 

Leverkusen fared better in their trip to Bulgaria and emerged 3-2 victors over Ludogorets, but not before sportswriter Jonathan Harding remarked on the sorrow their biggest stars will have felt at 2-0 down:

Kai Havertz had a better response than the one Harding envisioned, however, and scored either side of an Isaac Thelin intervention to wrap up the comeback victory in Group B.

Similarly impressive was Dinamo Zagreb's 4-1 thumping of Turkish titans Fenerbahce, where 16 minutes was all that was needed for Ivan Sunjic to open the scoring:

Standard Liege went in at half-time in Seville only down 2-1 and with a chance at points clearly in sight, but a second-half tirade from Sevilla left the Belgian visitors in tatters. 

Moussa Djenepo's 39th-minute strike gave Standard a lifeline, but braces from Wissam Ben Yedder and Ever Banega (one from the penalty spot) helped secure a confident victory for the hosts.

Midfielder Franco Vazquez was also on the scoresheet as Banega exercised his set-piece threat in Europe once again, per OptaJose:

Not all of Spain's representatives performed well at home, though, and Villarreal were perhaps guilty of overlooking their opponents somewhat as Gerrard's Rangers stole a point from the Estadio de la Ceramica.

Carlos Bacca opened the scoring for Villarreal inside the first minute, while Gerard Moreno supplied their second after Arfield's first equaliser, but there was little keeping the Scots down, as Andy Newport reported:

Lafferty's second leveller came only seven minutes after Moreno, who had scored almost immediately after Arfield in what was a whirlwind seven minutes for both teams. Rangers can be especially proud after statistician Simon Gleave noted Villarreal as one of the outliers in the Europa League:

Chelsea won this competition five years ago and will be hopeful of making their mark again under Maurizio Sarri, with Willian the sole scorer at PAOK to give them a good start in Group L:

The Blues are only second in their pool after BATE Borisov won away at Vidi 2-0, but Chelsea will have their chances to turn the tide in their favour down the line.

One of the most entertaining of Thursday's early fixtures came at the Stade Velodrome, when Marseille surrendered a 1-0 lead at home and allowed Luka Jovic to net an 89th-minute winner for travelling Eintracht, per sportswriter Mohammed Ali:

Marseille's defeat was a difficult one to swallow after Lucas Ocampos gave the hosts the lead inside three minutes, but not even Jetro Willems' sending-off could change the tempo after Lucas Torro scored to pull level.

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