Europa League round-up: Tottenham and Leicester top their groups
Celtic finish dreadful campaign on a high with win over Lille
Carlos Vinicius celebrates with Giovani Lo Celso after scoring Tottenham Hotspur’s first goal in the Europa League Group J match against Antwerp at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images
Tottenham 2 Antwerp 0
Tottenham ensured they finished top of Group J in the Europa League with a 2-0 win over Royal Antwerp.
Spurs needed to beat the Belgian side to finish at the summit and secure a seeding for the next stage, and second-half goals from Carlos Vinicius and Giovani Lo Celso got the job done.
Jose Mourinho again saw his side produce a flat first-half performance, a key feature of their group campaign, but would have been happy with what he witnessed after the break.
Vinicius tapped in after Gareth Bale’s free-kick had been tipped onto the post and then Lo Celso buried Antwerp with a cool finish with 20 minutes to go.
It means Spurs will get an opponent who finished in second place in Monday’s draw for the last 32, or one of the four unseeded sides who have dropped down from the Champions League.
Leicester City 2 AEK Athens 0
Leicester eased past AEK Athens 2-0 as they marched on to win their group.
Quickfire first-half goals from Cengiz Under and Harvey Barnes ensured the Foxes clinched top spot in Group G.
Brendan Rodgers’s side finished ahead of Braga, who beat Zorya Luhansk 2-0, and will be seeded in Monday’s draw for the last 32.
AEK Athens end their campaign bottom after losing five of their six games, including a 2-1 home defeat to the Foxes.
Lech Poznan 0 Rangers 2
Rangers banked a £1.4 million windfall as Steven Gerrard’s team made sure they will be seeded for Monday’s Europa League last-32 draw with victory in Poland.
A 2-0 triumph over Lech Poznan at Stadion Miejski earned the Light Blues the standard £515,000 win bonus plus an extra £900,000 prize for pipping Benfica to top Group D.
But it is the fact Gers are now set to avoid a string of European heavyweights – including Manchester United, Arsenal, Ajax, Bayer Leverkusen, and Roma – in the next round which will be priceless to Gerrard.
Striker Cedric Itten fired Rangers ahead as he made the most of a rare run out through the middle before Ianis Hagi confirmed the unbeaten Scottish Premiership leader’s fourth victory from six games as he tapped home from point-blank range after the break.
Celtic 3 Lille 2
David Turnbull’s first Celtic goal earned Neil Lennon’s side a battling 3-2 win over Lille to finish their disappointing campaign on a high.
A much-changed home side had no chance of qualifying prior to their final Group H game against the French side but showing impressive energy and desire they took the lead in the 22nd minute when Christopher Jullien headed in from a corner.
Jonathan Ikone levelled two minutes later as their recent frailties resurfaced but Callum McGregor soon restored the home side’s lead from the spot.
Timothy Weah, who had a spell on loan at Celtic, equalised in the 71st minute but 21-year-old midfielder Turnbull, a bit-part player since joining Celtic from Motherwell in August and making his European debut for the Parkhead side, drove in a third with impressive assurance.
The goal gave Lennon’s side their first win in six and will give the Hoops boss some respite from the flak he has taken during this recent poor run of form.