Manchester United & Roma left stunned, Arsenal secures a win
The UEFA Europa League is a competition where upsets and shock defeats are common, and the first matchday of the 2022/23 UEL season further consolidated the competition’s reputation. Manchester United and Roma, two prime contenders to lift the title, were handed defeats by Real Sociedad and Ludogorets Razgrad respectively.
On the other hand, another title contender Arsenal secured a 2-1 win over Zurich, while all three Ligue 1 sides – Stade Rennes, Nantes and AS Monaco, were victorious in their respective fixtures.
Check out what happened on matchday 1 of the 2022/23 UEFA Europa League season:
Though the victory was not as comfortable as they would have hoped, Arsenal started their 2022/23 UEFA Europa League campaign by beating Zurich 2-1. Marquinhos and Eddie Nketiah were on the scoresheet for the Gunners, whilst Zurich’s solitary goal was scored by Mirlind Kryeziu.
PSV Eindhoven had a tough start to their campaign as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Norwegian outfit Bodo/Glimt. It was the Eliteserien team who scored first, courtesy of Albert Gronbaek. However, a 62nd-minute strike by the highly rated Cody Gakpo helped the Dutch side earn a point.
Stade Rennes left it very late against AEK Larnaca but eventually secured a 2-1 win. Arthur Theate’s goal handed them an early lead before Oier Sanjurjo drew his team level. However, in the 94th minute of the game, Lorenz Assignon scored to make the scoreline 2-1.
The second Group B match was similar to the first, as in this encounter, Fenerbahce left it late but ultimately managed to get a 2-1 over Dynamo Kyiv. Gustavo Henrique and Michy Batshuayi scored for the Turkish side, whilst for Kyiv, Viktor Tsyhankov was the lone goal scorer.
Jose Mourinho’s Roma suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Bulgarian side Ludogorets Razgrad. After a goalless first half, Cauly Souza’s goal handed Razgrad the lead before Eldor Shomurodov restored parity in the match. However, Gustavo Nonato scored in the 88th minute to help Ludogorets get all three points.
Real Sociedad had a fairly comfortable outing against Finland’s HJK, as they emerged as 2-0 winners. Willian Jose scored from the spot seconds before half-time, and then in the second half, he doubled his and his team’s tally.
Braga has been performing well in European competitions recently and they had a good start to their campaign, beating Malmo by a 2-0 margin. Bruno Rodrigues and Ricardo Horta were the goal-scorers for them.
The match between Union Berlin and Royale Union Saint-Gilloise was a neck-and-neck affair, but the Belgian side managed to emerge victorious. Midfielder Senne Lynen scored the only goal of the match in the 39th minute.
The biggest highlight of this round’s Europa League fixtures was Manchester United’s defeat against Real Sociedad. Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Maguire returned to the Red Devils’ starting XI, but their team suffered their first defeat after four consecutive Premier League wins. Brais Mendez scored the only goal of the match in the 59th minute.
Moldovan club Sheriff Tiraspol, who defeated Real Madrid not very long ago, started their journey with a comprehensive 3-0 victory against Omonia. Rashid Akanbi, Iyayi Atiemwen and Mouhamed Diop scored the goals.
After a defeat against Napoli in Serie A, Maurizio Sarri’s Lazio had an excellent start to their European campaign as they defeated Feyenoord 4-2. Matias Vecino netted a brace, whilst the other two goals were scored by Luis Alberto and Felipe Anderson. For Feyenoord, Santiago Gimenez scored both of the goals.
Austrian club Sturm Graz started their journey with a 1-0 win against Denmark’s Midtjylland. Dutch forward Emanuel Emegha scored the winning goal in the 8th minute, and despite launching many attacks, the Danish Superliga team could not breach Sturm Graz’s defense.
Nantes and Olympiacos were involved in a thriller, where the Ligue 1 side handed the Greek giants a 2-1 defeat. Mostafa Mohamed and Evann Guessand were the goal-scorers for Nantes, whilst for Olympiacos, Samuel Moutoussamy got his name on the scoresheet.
Azerbaijan’s Qarabag gave Bundesliga outfit Freiburg a run for their money, but ultimately, their efforts went in vain as the team from Germany recorded a 2-1 win. Vincenzo Grifo and Ritsu Doan scored for Freiburg, while Marko Vesovic scored Qarabag’s lone goal.
Winning against Red Star Belgrade at their home stadium is always a tough task for any given team, but France’s AS Monaco did that as they walked away with a hard-fought 1-0 victory. Breel Embolo’s 74th-minute penalty was the difference between the two sides.
Ferencvaros and Trabzonspor played arguably the most enthralling match of this round, where the Hungarian outfit defeated the Turkish side by a 3-2 margin. A Tokmac Nguen brace and an Adama Traore strike comprised Ferencvaros’ three goals, while Trabzonspor’s two scorers were Maxi Gomez and Umut Bozok.