Ange Postecoglou sees ‘good signs’ for Celtic after narrow Real Betis loss

Osimhen double earns Napoli a point at Leicester; West Ham win in Zagreb

Real Betis goalkeeper  Claudio Bravo  celebrates his side’s  fourth goal  by Juanmi during the Europa League  match against Celtic  at Estadio Benito Villamarin. Photograph: Fran Santiago/Getty Images

Real Betis goalkeeper Claudio Bravo celebrates his side’s fourth goal by Juanmi during the Europa League match against Celtic at Estadio Benito Villamarin. Photograph: Fran Santiago/Getty Images

 

Real Betis 4 Celtic 3

A “really proud” Ange Postecoglou felt his Celtic players had shown they can play the type of football he aspires to despite coming out the wrong end of a seven-goal thriller against Real Betis.

Celtic were two up in Seville but conceded four goals inside 21 minutes on their way to a 4-3 defeat in their opening Europa League group game.

An understrength Celtic, who were without the likes of Callum McGregor, James Forrest and Kyogo Furuhashi and had new signing Liam Scales on the bench, went ahead through an Albian Ajeti goal and Josip Juranovic’s penalty.

Jota could not take a good chance to extend the lead and Celtic’s excellent start was undone by quickfire doubles either side of half-time with a central defence of Carl Starfelt and Cameron Carter-Vickers looking vulnerable.

Anthony Ralston’s headed response came too late to allow Celtic to complete their own comeback but Postecoglou took plenty of positives from the game.

“I’m really proud of the players,” he told Celtic TV. “Against a quality opponent, we took the game to them.

“We had our moments in the game where it could have got away from them and unfortunately we didn’t do that. They have some quality up front that punished us.

“The players hung in there right to the end and it was a good game.

“I couldn’t ask any more from the players, the football we played was exactly the type of team we want to be.

“Yeah, there are areas we still want to improve, but when you come away from home and score three goals and create many more chances apart from that, I think moving forward there are some good signs here.”

Leicester 2 Napoli 2

Victor Osimhen denied Leicester the perfect start in the Europa League as Napoli hit back from 2-0 down to snatch a point.

The striker struck twice in the second half as the visitors deservedly grabbed a 2-2 draw in Group C at the King Power Stadium.

Ayoze Perez’s first goal since March and Harvey Barnes’s second-half goal gave the Foxes a commanding lead.

But Osimhen grabbed a classy lifeline for the visitors and then headed in a late leveller, with Leicester’s frustrations compounded when Wilfred Ndidi was sent off in injury time.

Police and stewards had to control a disturbance between the home and travelling fans at full-time with missiles thrown between supporters.

West Ham United’s Declan Rice scores their second goal in the Europa League game against Dinamo Zagreb at Maksimir Stadium. Photograph: Denis Lovrovic/AFP via Getty Images
West Ham United’s Declan Rice scores their second goal in the Europa League game against Dinamo Zagreb at Maksimir Stadium. Photograph: Denis Lovrovic/AFP via Getty Images

Dinamo Zagreb 0 West Ham 2

West Ham announced themselves on the Europa League stage as goals from Michail Antonio and Declan Rice secured a 2-0 victory at Dinamo Zagreb.

The Hammers’ very own Ant and Dec provided the tea-time entertainment in Croatia by finding the net either side of half-time.

Antonio was probably only in the team due to the red card he picked up at Southampton, which has instead given him an enforced rest against Manchester United on Sunday.

But striker brought his sizzling domestic form to the continent with his fifth goal of the season.

Rice, making his European club debut with 26 caps for England already to his name, added the second to give David Moyes’s side a comfortable win in their first ever group stage match.

It is only the ninth time the Hammers have even been in Europe and the last time they won a match, not including qualifiers, was in 1999 against another Croatian side, Osijek.

Rangers 0 Lyon 2

Steven Gerrard’s 50th European tie as Rangers boss ended in a 2-0 Europa League defeat by Lyon at Ibrox.

Cameroon international Karl Toko Ekambi fired in a terrific opener for the French side after 22 minutes of the Group A opener in Govan.

The Scottish champions had come close on a few occasions in the first half but in the 55th minute Gers skipper James Tavernier put through his own goal trying to stop a close-range shot from Islam Slimani and, despite a huge effort from the home side, it was too big a lead to claw back.

Gerrard, who had suffered only eight defeats in Europe previously with Rangers, had warned of Lyon’s quality before the game, describing them as arguably the best side he had encountered in his tenure as Gers boss, and in the final analysis the visitors had just that bit too much on the night.

Europa Conference League

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg scores Tottenham Hotspur’s second goal during the Europa Conference League match against Rennes at Stade Rennes. Photograph: John Berry/Getty Images
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg scores Tottenham Hotspur’s second goal during the Europa Conference League match against Rennes at Stade Rennes. Photograph: John Berry/Getty Images

Rennes 2 Tottenham 2

Tottenham came from behind to draw 2-2 in their opening Europa Conference League Group G game at Rennes, but it was a costly evening as they suffered more injury problems.

In their toughest looking assignment of the inaugural third-tier European club competition, they went ahead through Loic Bade’s early own goal before the French team hit back either side of half-time through Flavian Tait and Gaetan Laborde.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s leveller earned Spurs a point, but Steven Bergwijn and Lucas Moura limped off and with a Premier League match against Chelsea in 72 hours, their attacking numbers look short.

Son Heung-min is already facing a race against time to be fit with a calf injury while Giovani Lo Celso does not get back from his quarantine camp in Croatia until Saturday, leaving Nuno Espirito Santo with a headache.

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