PIX: Liverpool rally to beat LASK; West Ham win

Images from the Europa League matches played on Thursday.

Liverpool fight back to beat LASK

Liverpool overcame an early scare and came from a goal down to claim a 3-1 win at Austria’s LASK Linz in their opening Europa League Group E game on Thursday.

Liverpool, whose last Europa League campaign came in 2015-16 and saw them lose the final 3-1 to Sevilla, looked uncomfortable in the first half against determined hosts who are playing in Europa League group stage for the third time.

LASK, third in the 2022-23 Austrian Bundesliga, took a surprise lead in the 14th minute through a stunning goal by winger Florian Flecker, who connected with a corner and blasted it in past Liverpool keeper Caoimhin Kelleher.

Liverpool had an excellent chance to level through a Darwin Nunez close-range header later in the first half but were denied by an alert save from goalkeeper Tobias Lawal.

But Nunez levelled for Juergen Klopp’s side following halftime, coolly converting from the spot after the visitors were awarded a penalty when winger Luis Diaz was taken down inside the box.

Diaz then moved Liverpool in front in the 63rd from close range, netting a brilliant cross into the middle of the box by Ryan Gravenberch, before substitute Mohamed Salah sealed the win two minutes from time with a low strike inside the far post.

In the other Group E clash, last season’s quarter-finalists Union Saint-Gilloise rescued a home 1-1 draw against Toulouse.

Bayer Leverkusen scored twice inside 16 minutes to beat Swedish champions Hacken 4-0 at home, while the 2022-23 runners-up AS Roma claimed a 2-1 win at Moldova’s Sheriff Tiraspol with a Romelu Lukaku goal.

Panathinaikos, second in the Greek Super League last season, shocked the 2020-21 winners Villarreal 2-0.

Stade Rennais midfielder Ludovic Blas found the net in the first minute to help his side earn a comfortable 3-0 win over visiting Israel champions Maccabi Haifa.

West Ham beat Serbia’s Backa Topola with own goal

An own goal by Backa Topola’s Nemanja Petrovic helped West Ham United recover from a goal down to clinch a 3-1 home win over the Serbian side in a Europa League Group A match on Thursday.

Despite dominating ball possession and 15 attempts in the first half, West Ham were unable to break the deadlock before halftime against competition debutants who are playing European football for just the second time.

Things went from bad to worse for the hosts when midfielder Petar Stanic gave Backa a shock lead after the break as he capitalised on an error by West Ham defence and made it 1-0 after a solo run.

But Backa defender Petrovic failed to protect their advantage when he scored an own goal in the 66th minute before West Ham midfielder Mohammed Kudus scored for the London side with a header and substitute Tomas Soucek sealed the win.

Ajax Amsterdam squandered a 2-0 lead at home against Olympique de Marseille to draw 3-3 as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struck twice for the visitors.

In the other Group B game, Brighton & Hove Albion converted two penalties against Greek champions AEK Athens but lost 3-2 at home.

Rangers beat Real Betis 1-0 with a second-half goal by Senegal forward Abdallah Sima, while Sporting came from a goal down at Austria’s Sturm Graz to claim a late 2-1 victory.

Atalanta’s Charles De Ketelaere and Ederson scored in the second half to secure a 2-0 win for the Serie A side against Polish champions Rakow Czestochowa.

Liverpool overcame an early scare and came from a goal down to claim a 3-1 win at Austria’s LASK Linz in their Group E game earlier on Thursday.

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