LONDON: Record Europa League winners Sevilla began their quest to reach the group stages of Europe’s second-tier club competition with a 4-0 hammering of Hungarians Ujpest while Germans RB Leipzig also dished out a similar thrashing to Sweden’s BK Hacken in the first legs of their second qualifying round ties on Thursday.
Burnley earned a 1-1 draw at Aberdeen on their return to Europe after 51 years, Turkish giants Besiktas defeated Faroese club B36 Torshavn 2-0. French side Girondins Bordeaux overcame Latvian club FK Ventspils 1-0, Italians Atalanta threw away a 2-0 lead to draw with FK Sarajevo and Steven Gerrard guided Rangers to their first away win in the continent in a decade with a 1-0 win over Osijek.
The return legs are on August 2.
The tie against Ujpest is the first of three Spaniards Sevilla, the five-time Europa League winners, must win in order to reach the group stage and led by a superb performance from Jesus Navas they handed a first victory to new coach Pablo Machin.
Navas turned in a fifty-yard cross to open the scoring in the seventh minute and Sevilla were a man up and two goals ahead just past the half hour mark when Ujpest’s Branko Pauljevic chopped down Pablo Sarabia inside the box, leaving Wissam Ben Yedder to convert a penalty.
Sarabia made it 3-0 before half-time when he tucked in Navas’ cross before Franco Vazquez completed the scoring in injury-time.
“It’s satisfying to start my time at Sevilla this way,” said Machin, who joined Sevilla from fellow La Liga side Girona. “We have fulfilled our objective which was to take an advantage into the second leg and we can’t deny that a 4-0 win makes things easier for us.”
Leipzig, quarter-finalists last season, were also convincing at home as they showed no mercy to Hacken.
“Apart from the first twenty minutes we staged a good performance,” Leipzig head coach Ralf Rangnick said. “We played tactically very well. We are in the second week of our preparations and still played a good game today.”
After a slow start, Leipzig took the lead in the 35th minute when Bruma scored from close range after being fed by Stefan Ilsanker and doubled their advantage four minutes later as new signing Matheus Cunha hammered home with a shot on the turn from the edge of the box.
Kevin Kampl added a third in the 50th and after Ilsanker was sent off after a second yellow card in the 81st, Jean-Kevin Augustin slotted home from inside the box with six minutes remaining to complete the scoring.
Burnley suffered a dreadful start, losing England goalkeeper Nick Pope to injury, and fell behind in the 19th minute when Gary Mackay-Steven converted a penalty that was won by Sam Cosgrove.
But substitute Sam Vokes showed skill and composure, as well as his aerial strength, to equalise 10 minutes from the end and give Sean Dyche’s Premier League side a potentially crucial away goal.
“We don’t think it’s a done deal,” said Dyche. “We are not a team that takes anything for granted. We will have to work for everything.”
Besiktas won on the road with goals by Dutch winger Jeremain Lens, with a powerful strike from just inside the penalty area, in the eighth minute and Gokhan Gonul, with a tap-in, in the 26th while Bordeaux also won away thanks to Zaydou Youssouf’s early free-kick.
Goals by Matteo Pessina and Rafael Toloi had Atalanta in control at home against Sarajevo but goals by Haris Handzic and Aladin Sisic mean they have work to do in the second leg while Gerrard’s Rangers ensured they will take an advantage back to Ibrox for the return after Alfredo Morelos’ first-half header secured victory in Croatia.
Elsewhere, Dutch side AZ Alkmaar and Czechs Sparta Prague need to overturn 2-0 first leg deficits against Kazakhstan’s Kairat Almaty and Spartak Subotica of Serbia if they are to reach the next round after both sides were stunned away from home.
Portugal’s Rio Ave lost 1-0 at Poland’s Jagiellonia, Serbia’s Partizan edged Lithuania’s Trakai 1-0, Scottish side Hibernian came back from two goals down to win 3-2 against Greeks Asteras Tripolis and Welsh side New Saints had a 2-1 home win over Lincoln Red Imps of Gibraltar.
Published in Dawn, July 28th, 2018