Liverpool, West Ham remain perfect in Europa League, newcomer Brighton pick up first point
LONDON: Ryan Gravenberch scored his first goal for his new club as Liverpool brushed aside Union Saint-Gilloise in the Europa League on Thursday.
The Dutch midfielder, who joined from Bayern Munich in the off-season, netted from a rebound shortly before halftime to put Liverpool 1-0 up.
Diogo Jota then sealed Liverpool’s second straight win in the second-tier European competition with a low shot in second-half stoppage time.
Liverpool midfielder Alexis Mac Allister started on the bench before coming on as a substitute after halftime to join older brother Kevin, a defender for Belgian club Union, on the field.
The Reds are two points clear atop Group E ahead of Toulouse, who beat Austria’s LASK 1-0.
Liverpool have missed out on qualification to the Champions League for the first time since 2016.
Goals from Lucas Paqueta and Nayef Aguerd helped West Ham make it two wins from two games in the Europa League with a 2-1 victory at Freiburg.
Unmarked in the area, Aguerd headed the winner from a James Ward-Prowse corner in the 66th minute, the ball bouncing in off the underside of the crossbar.
West Ham, winners of the Europa Conference League last season, had taken the lead in the eighth minute with Paqueta rising high to head in a cross from Jarrod Bowen.
Roland Sallai then equalized for Freiburg after pouncing on a rebound four minutes into the second half.
West Ham top Group A on six points. Freiburg remain on three with Serbia’s TSC Backa Topola and Olympiacos both on one after drawing 2-2.
West Ham fans were banned from the game as punishment by UEFA for incidents at the Europa Conference League final in Prague.
In Group B, Joao Pedro converted a penalty two minutes from time to earn the first point in European competition for Brighton as it held Marseille to a 2-2 draw in France.
The Seagulls trailed 2-0 at half time after goals from defender Chancel Mbemba and midfielder Jordan Veretout before Pascal Gross pulled one back.
New Marseille coach Gennaro Gattuso remains winless after two games.
Brighton are playing in Europe for the first time in the club’s 122-year history after finishing a club-best sixth in the Premier League last season.
AEK lead the group with four points after Domagoj Vida salvaged a 1-1 draw against Ajax in Athens. Marseille and Ajax are both on two points.
Romelu Lukaku converted a cross from Zeki Çelik as Roma swept past Servette Geneva 4-0.
It was the fifth goal from seven games in all competitions for the Belgium forward. Fellow striker Andrea Belotti also netted twice, with the other goal coming from substitute Lorenzo Pellegrini.
Roma, coached by Jose Mourinho, are trying to reach their third straight European final and share the Group G lead with Slavia Prague on six points after the Czech club demolished Moldova’s Sheriff Tiraspol 6-0.
Xabi Alonso marked his first year in charge of Bayer Leverkusen by leading his team to a 2-1 win at Molde.
The German club’s second straight victory in Group H came just days after they climbed to the top of the Bundesliga.
Alonso won praise for reaching the Europa League semifinals last season before losing to Roma. Jeremie Frimpong and Nathan Tella scored for Leverkusen inside the first 18 minutes.
In Group C, Isco headed the winner as Real Betis rallied to beat Sparta Prague 2-1. All four teams have three points after Aris Limassol overcame Rangers 2-1.
In Group D, first-half goals by Giorgio Scalvini and Matteo Ruggeri earned Atalanta a 2-1 win at Sporting Lisbon.
Viktor Gyokeres pulled one back for Sporting with a penalty. Atalanta tops the group after two straight wins.
EUROPA CONFERENCE LEAGUE
Captain John McGinn’s stoppage-time header gave Aston Villa a 1-0 victory over Bosnian club Zrinjski Mostar in the third-tier European competition.
Last year’s runner-up Fiorentina was held 2-2 by Ferencvaros while another title favorite, the 2022 Europa League winner Eintracht Frankfurt, suffered a 2-1 loss at PAOK.
Denmark’s Nordsjælland crushed Ludogorets 7-1.
KÍ Klaksvik picked up the club’s first point in Europe after holding Lille 0-0.
KÍ is the first team from the Faroe Islands to make the group stage of a European competition.
Another newcomer, Breidablik of Iceland, lost 1-0 at home to Zorya Luhansk.