Liverpool, Spurs, Celtic play draws
Paris, October 2
Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Celtic all drew in the second round of games in the Europa League on Thursday night, while Borussia Dortmund also had to settle for a point.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers suffered another blow in his fight to save his job as Swiss side FC Sion earned a 1-1 draw at Anfield in Group B. Rodgers has been heavily criticised by fans and pundits after Liverpool's disappointing start to the season and he had to endure more boos from the Anfield faithful after another lacklustre display that left them with two draws from their first two Group B matches.
Adam Lallana put Liverpool ahead in the fourth minute when he converted from a Divock Origi cutback. But Sion equalised in the 18th minute when Ebenezer Assifuah chested down and fired past Simon Mignolet.
Tottenham came within nine minutes of beating last season's Champions League quarter-finalists Monaco on a rainy night in the principality before Stephan El Shaarawy scored to secure a 1-1 draw for the hosts. Spurs opened the scoring 10 minutes prior to the interval. Nacer Chadli set up Dele Alli, who was denied by Danijel Subasic. However, the ball ricocheted kindly into the path of Erik Lamela, who was left with a simple tap-in.
Nevertheless, Monaco hit back in the 81st minute when Nabil Dirar crossed from the right for fellow substitute El Shaarawy, who got up above Kieran Trippier to head in. The point leaves Tottenham top of Group J ahead of Qarabag, who beat Anderlecht 1-0 in Azerbaijan.
After holding Ajax to a 2-2 draw in Amsterdam in their opening game in Group A, Celtic drew by the same scoreline at home to Fenerbahce in Glasgow. However, it was a disappointing outcome after the Scottish champions went two goals up inside 32 minutes through Leigh Griffiths and Kris Commons. A shocking Efe Ambrose header allowed Fernandao in to pull one back for Fenerbahce and the Brazilian, the leading scorer in Turkey last season with Bursaspor, levelled just after the break. Celtic's next game is in Norway against Molde, who top the section after drawing 1-1 with Ajax.
Borussia Dortmund continued their unbeaten start to the season but they had to come from behind to draw 1-1 with PAOK in Greece in Group C. Recent signing Dimitar Berbatov started up front for the hosts, but it was Slovakian striker Robert Mak who gave PAOK a first-half lead. Gonzalo Castro equalised in fortunate fashion 18 minutes from time, though. His clipped ball into the box was meant for Jonas Hofmann but it evaded him and goalkeeper Robin Olsen and crossed the line. Dortmund top the group by a point from FC Krasnodar, who beat Qabala 2-1 in Russia.
Spanish league leaders Villarreal claimed their first points in Group E as they beat Czech side Viktoria Plzen 1-0 at El Madrigal. The Brazilian Leo Baptistao netted the only goal of the game early in the second half. Villarreal are three points behind group leaders Rapid Vienna, who won 1-0 away to Dinamo Minsk.
Serie A leaders Fiorentina continued their fine form as they defeated Belenenses 4-0 in Portugal in Group I. Federico Bernardeschi and Khouma Boubacar scored before the break in Lisbon and a Tonel own goal made it three before Giuseppe Rossi scored his first goal since May last year after injury to clinch the win. Fiorentina are second in their group, three points behind Basel, who beat Lech Poznan 2-0 in Switzerland. Fiorentina were not the only Italian winners, with Lazio coming from behind to beat nine-man Saint-Etienne 3-2 in Group G and Napoli winning 2-0 at Legia Warsaw in Group D.