Astana stun Man United youngsters in Europa League

Manchester United’s manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gives instructions during the Europa League Group L soccer match between Astana and Manchester United in Kazakhstan. (AP Photo)
Updated 29 November 2019

Astana stun Man United youngsters in Europa League

  • Captain Jesse Lingard opened the scoring for the visitors, who had already reached the last 32, before Dmitri Shomko equalized for the home side
  • Di’Shon Bernard, 19, then put through his own goal to hand Astana victory over a United side whose average age was just 22

PARIS: Kazakh champions Astana fought back to surprise a youthful Manchester United 2-1 in the Europa League on Thursday.
Captain Jesse Lingard opened the scoring for the visitors, who had already reached the last 32, before Dmitri Shomko equalized for the home side.
Di’Shon Bernard, 19, then put through his own goal to hand Astana victory over a United side whose average age was just 22.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said some of the youngsters on show put their hands up to feature against Alkmaar in the final round of group matches on December 12.
“At times we were excellent but there were spells when we let them push us back. That cost us in the end,” he said.
“These boys have learnt a lot and have given me food for thought. I’m very pleased with many of them.”
Shomko, meanwhile, told UEFA.com that the result will live in his memory.
“I will be telling my grandchildren, ‘you know guys a while ago I scored against Manchester United’. It does not matter who scored, really. The most important thing is that we won,” he said.
Solskjaer made 11 changes from Sunday’s draw with Sheffield United by handing senior debuts to teenagers Ethan Laird, Dylan Levitt and Bernard as well as naming cancer survivor Max Taylor on the bench.
United opened the scoring after 10 minutes as Lingard’s low show from outside the box beat Nenad Eric to his right.
Shomko responded after 55 minutes as his effort from inside the box glanced past Lee Grant in the United goal.
The three points, Astana’s first of the European campaign, were secured when Bernard deflected an Antonio Rukavina cross past 36-year-old Grant seven minutes later.
Astana were already out of contention for the knockout stages ahead of the round five fixture in Group L.
Later Thursday, AZ Alkmaar host Partizan Belgrade and a win for the Dutch side would move them a point ahead of the English giants.


‘Loved and appreciated’ Bale starts as Spurs win, Celtic undone by Milan

Updated 23 October 2020

‘Loved and appreciated’ Bale starts as Spurs win, Celtic undone by Milan

PARIS: Gareth Bale said it felt good to be “loved and appreciated” after helping Tottenham to a 3-0 win over LASK of Austria in the Europa League on Thursday.
The Welsh international started his first match since his return from Real Madrid and played for an hour before Jose Mourinho gave him a break.
Bale had come on as a substitute last Sunday with Tottenham 3-0 up against West Ham before his team collapsed to give up a 3-3 draw.
“It is amazing to be back,” Bale told BT Sport on Thursday.
“It is a big reason why I play well and why I came back. You want to be loved and appreciated. I will give everything for this shirt.”
However, he admitted it will take time to find his feet.
“I am a bit stiff. It is like a mini pre-season for me and I am trying to get minutes into the legs,” he said.
Despite Bale starting, it was on-loan Carlos Vinicius who made an impressive debut in the Group J opener.
Vinicius started in place of the resting Harry Kane and he made goals in either half for Lucas Moura and Son Heung-min, while he would have also netted himself had Andres Andrade not scored an own goal.
Bale made that goal where Andrade put through his own net.
Leicester made the perfect start in Group G with a comfortable 3-0 win over Zorya Luhansk of Ukraine.
James Maddison, Harvey Barnes and Kelechi Iheanacho were on the scoresheet.
In Glasgow, Celtic struggled against Serie A leaders AC Milan who were 2-0 up at half-time thanks to goals from Rade Krunic and Brahim Diaz.
Mohamed Elyounoussi reduced the arrears after the break, but Jens Petter Hauge broke clear to secure Milan’s Group H 3-1 win in stoppage time.
Milan were so comfortable that they could afford to take off Zlatan Ibrahimovic just after the hour.
Earlier Thursday, Arsenal came from behind to down Rapid Vienna 2-1 and Rangers beat Standard Liege 2-0.
After a goalless first half Arsenal went behind when keeper Bernd Leno fluffed a clearance on a night he will want to forget.
Taxiarchis Fountas capitalized on Leno’s clanger, much to the joy of the 3,000 home fans allowed in to watch under coronavirus safety protocol, but the Gunners then turned the game around in four second half minutes.
David Luiz put them level with a deft glancing header off Nicolas Pepe’s free-kick, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang then tapping home to bag the three Group B points.
It was an eventful night for Mikel Arteta’s side.
Alongside eight yellow cards, there was an eye-catching display from Thomas Partey on his first start since his transfer deadline day move from Atletico Madrid.
A frustrated follower of the game from his London sofa was Mesut Ozil, who has been left out of both Arsenal’s Europa League and Premier League squad.
“When I can’t support on the pitch tonight, I will support in front of the TV in London.” tweeted Ozil.
The other Group B game was being played out in Dublin where Dundalk, only Ireland’s third ever representative in the group stage, were beaten 2-1 by Norwegians Molde.
In Belgium, Steven Gerrard’s Rangers took on Standard Liege fresh from their Old Firm derby win over Celtic which moved them four points clear in the Scottish Premiership last weekend.
James Tavernier scored from the spot after Noe Dussenne handled in the area to put them into a 19th minute lead.
Then three minutes into stoppage time Kemar Roofe produced a wonder goal from the halfway line, the ball flying over the head of bewildered keeper Arnaud Bodart.
Benfica had claimed the first goal of the night and they went on to beat Lech Poznan in Poland 4-2 in the other Group D game.
Elsewhere, Bayer Leverkusen ran riot 6-2 against French side Nice and Spanish side Granada, in their first ever European campaign, beat PSV Eindhoven 2-1.