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Liverpool, Leverkusen, and Roma stay undefeated in Europa League

Liverpool’s Wataru Endo, centre, scores his side’s second goal during the Europa League Group E soccer match between Liverpool and Toulouse, at Anfield in Liverpool, England, Thursday, Oct 26, 2023. PHOTO: AP

AP – Liverpool took full control of its Europa League group by routing Toulouse 5-1 on Thursday as five different goal scorers helped the Merseyside club remain perfect after three games in the second-tier competition.

Diogo Jota opened the scoring in the ninth minute when he beat several defenders before netting. Thijs Dallinga equalised seven minutes later through the legs of goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher, but it wouldn’t matter.

Wataru Endo headed in a Trent Alexander Arnold cross on the half-hour mark for his first goal in the Liverpool jersey, and Darwin Núñez added another four minutes later. Ryan Gravenberch scored in the 65th before substitute Mohamed Salad finished it off in stoppage time.

The win at Anfield moved Liverpool five points clear of Toulouse and Union Saint-Gilloise in Group E. Union Saint-Gilloise beat LASK 2-1.

Roma also made it three wins from three with a 2-0 victory over Slavia Prague. The Italian club needed just 45 seconds to score at Stadio Olimpico when Stephan El Shaarawy set up Edoardo Bove to net from outside the area.

El Shaarawy then found Romelu Lukaku, who clinically finished with a left-footed one-timed shot into the roof of the net in the 17th. It was the Belgium forward’s eighth goal in 10 games since joining Roma from Chelsea.

Roma leads Group G, with Slavia three points behind.

Leverkusen remained perfect after Alejandro Grimaldo’s two goals helped the Bundesliga leader ease past Qarabag 5-1 and lead Group H by three ahead of its Thursday opponent.

In Greece, Olympiacos handed West Ham the first setback of its campaign with a 2-1 victory.

Lucas Paquetá volleyed home in the 87th minute but the Premier League club couldn’t find an equaliser after captain Kostas Fortounis and Brazilian defender Rodinei scored before halftime in Greece.

Olympiacos snapped an 11-game winless run in the competition going back to 2021.

Freiburg joined West Ham atop Group A with six points after a 3-1 win at Serbia’s TSC Bačka Topola. Olympiacos is two points behind while TSC remains on one point.

In Group B, Brighton earned its first-ever win in a European competition by beating Ajax 2-0. João Pedro scored three minutes before halftime and Ansu Fati sealed a 2-0 victory for the Seagulls early in the second. Brighton is playing in Europe for the first time in the club’s 122-year history.

Dutch giant Ajax is off to its worst-ever start to a season, failing to win in its last nine games in all competitions.

Amine Harit and Jordan Veretout both scored from the penalty spot in Marseille’s 3-1 home win over 10-man AEK Athens in the first victory for the French club in the group’s other game.

Vitinha — whom coach Gennaro Gattuso preferred to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang — put the hosts in front in the first half. Orbelín Pineda equalised in the second before Harit and Veretout secured the win.

Marseille tops the standings with five points, with Brighton and AEK tailing by one.

Forward Luis Muriel’s two goals helped Atalanta draw 2-2 at Sturm Graz and top Group D with seven points. Sporting got a 1-1 draw at Rakow in Poland.

Rangers and Sparta played to a goalless draw in Prague to place two points behind Group C leader Real Betis, which won 1-0 at Aris Limassol.

Molde routed Häcken 5-1 in Group H.

EUROPA CONFERENCE LEAGUE

In the third-tier competition, Aston Villa routed AZ Alkmaar 4-1 in the Netherlands. Leon Bailey and Youri Tielemans scored in the first half, and Ollie Watkins and John McGinn netted after the break. Ibrahim Sadiq had a consolation goal for the hosts. Villa also hammered West Ham in the Premier League on Sunday.

Lucas Beltran’s two early goals inspired Fiorentina to a 6-0 win over 10-man Čukarički from Serbia. Eintracht Frankfurt beat Finland’s HJK by the same score.

KÍ Klaksvík, the first team from the Faroe Islands to make the group stage of a European competition, recorded its first victory, 3-0 over Olimpija Ljubljana.

KÍ is third in Group B with four points, with Lille in the lead on seven after a 2-1 home win over Slovan Bratislava, which is a point behind.

Another newcomer, Breidablik of Iceland, was routed 5-0 at Gent in Group B.

WAR’S IMPACT

Maccabi Haifa and Maccabi Tel Aviv had their Thursday games in the Europa League and the Europa Conference League, respectively, postponed for security reasons. Haifa’s game at Villarreal has been pushed back to December 6 and Tel Aviv’s home game against Zorya Luhansk will now be held on November 25 and must be moved to a new venue after UEFA decided that Israel can’t host any European matches until further notice.




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