Arsenal beaten in Belarus; Henderson return a timely boost

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Arsenal were beaten by BATE Borisov on Thursday night. Photograph: AP

Arsenal were beaten by BATE Borisov on Thursday night. Photograph: AP

Alexandre Lacazette was sent off as Arsenal were beaten by BATE Borisov in the first leg of their round of 32 Europa League match in Belarus. In a competition that Unai Emery is desperate to win for the dual prize of a trophy and the ticket back into the Champions League, a tournament in which he has a personal history of triumph - “Arsenal suffered a chastening evening with no redeeming features”.In the night's other fixtures; Celtic left themselves with a mountain to climb after a 2-0 defeat to Valencia at Parkhead, while Chelsea were 2-1 winners over Malmö FF thanks to goals from Ross Barkley and Olivier Giroud in Sweden. The new League of Ireland season gets underway tonight, and Emmet Malone has a team by team guide prepared with all you need to know about each club ahead of the big kick-off.

Iain Henderson will start in the second row as Ulster seek to put behind them the disappointment of a draw against Benetton last time out against Ospreys tonight in Brewery Field. His impressive recuperative powers remain undimmed as his return to fitness is a significant fillip for Ireland coach Joe Schmidt ahead of the Six Nations match against Italy in Rome on Sunday week. Also in Pro14 action tonight, Munster host the Souther Kings - Johann van Graan has been able to call upon a portion of his Irish squad contingent as Chris Farrell, Niall Scannell, John Ryan and Billy Holland were released to the province. A fit again Andrew Conway also takes his place on the right wing.

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