5 mins: Action at Arsenal, where Unai Emery has been told to take off his black jacket, which combined with his black trousers might lead people to think he’s playing for Eintracht Frankfurt, who are clad all in black.
Ruddy Buquet is perhaps my No1 top favourite referee’s name. Not to be confused with this, which is of course a ruddy bouquet.
The Emirates is at the very most half full tonight. It’s come to something when fans can’t even be relied on to turn up and boo.
Hello world! No time for shilly-shallying: the players are already coming out at the Emirates, where Granit Xhaka returns to the side for the first time since his post-substitutional strop precisely one month and one day ago. Unai Emery keeps five of the team that drew with Southampton at the weekend, and changes the rest.
Arsenal: Martinez, Mustafi, Papastathopoulos, Luiz, Chambers, Willock, Xhaka, Tierney, Martinelli, Aubameyang, Saka. Subs: Leno, Lacazette, Ozil, Torreira, Pepe, Nelson, Guendouzi.
Eintracht Frankfurt: Ronnow, Abraham, Hasebe, Hinteregger, Da Costa, Sow, Fernandes, Kostic, Kamada, Paciencia, Andre Silva. Subs: Ndicka, Joveljic, Gacinovic, Toure, Chandler, Kohr, Zimmermann.
Referee: Ruddy Buquet (France)
Still plenty more matches to come today, including those featuring Arsenal, Celtic and Dudelange. And here comes Simon Burnton to take you through them. So it’s bye from me. Bye!
Here are all today’s results so far:
Astana 2-1 Manchester United
Braga 3-3 Wolves
Feyenoord 2-2 Rangers
AZ Alkmaar 2-2 Partizan
Krasnodor 1-0 Basel
Trabzonspor 0-1 Getafe
Young Boys 1-2 Porto
CSKA 1-1 Ludogorets
Oleksandra 0-1 Wolfsburg
Ferencvaros 2-2 Espanyol
BAsaksehir 0-3 Roma
Saint Etienne 0-0 Gent
WAC 0-1 Monchengladbach
Besiktas 2-1 Slovan Bratislava
Young Boys 1-2 Porto
Full-time: Braga 3-3 Wolves
Wolves are through to the last 32. But Nuno will be annoyed that they let slip a 3-1 lead here, with this result meaning they remain second in the group behind Braga.
Full-time: Feyenoord 2-2 Rangers
Two goals by Morelos means Rangers are top of their group going into the last game, in which they will need to avoid defeat at home to Young Boys.
90 min: Saïss swings his left foot at the ball from 25 yards. He makes a reasonable connection but it swirls over the bar.
88 min: Braga threaten to hurt Wovles on the counter-attack, but the decisive pass is just too long for Fransergio.
Porto are now leading 2-1 against Young Boys, so all four teams could be still in contention going into the last group game.
GOAL! Braga 3-3 Wolves (Fransergio 78)
They’ve come back from 3-1 down! And the equaliser is a dreadfully sloppy from a Wolves’ viewpoint. Coady cleared a corner but then a cross came back in from the left and Fransergio was free to nod in from close range.
GOAL! Besiktas 1-1 Slovan Bratislava (Roco 76). That means that both Braga and Wolves would go through to the next round, ceteris paribus.
75 min: Marvellous play by Moutinho. He wins the ball in midfield and then flips a sublime pass with the outside of his foot to Neto, who bombs down the right and sends over a delivery …. that comes to nothing.
73 min: Paulinho booked for nearly rugby tackling Traoré to the ground, which, in fairness, is no mean feat.
GOAL! Feyenoord 2-2 Rangers (Sinisterra 66)
Super forward play by another Colombian. Sinisterra sent a bamboozled Helander spinning backwards onto his backside before dinking the ball over the advancing McGregor.
GOAL! Braga 2-3 Wolves (Paulinho 64)
Braga pounce on a slack pass by Saïss. Galeno feeds Paulinho, who finishes well.
GOAL! Feyenoord 1-2 Rangers (Morelos 65)
Another perfect finish from the Colombian. Barasic’s cross from the left was ideal, and the striker leapt between two defenders to glance a header into the top corner from 10 yards. A brilliant goal that could clinch Rangers’ place in the next round.
63 min: Morelos has an appeal for a penalty turned down after the centreback climbs over him.
Here is the side that will host Rennes.
Celtic: Forster; Bauer, Ajer, Julien, Taylor; McGregor, Brown; Forrest, Christie, Morgan; Ntcham
62 min: Rangers are nothing like the limp side of the first half. They’re starting to really rattle their hosts now. Morelos comes close to scoring a second but is denied by the keeper, who paws his 20-yard shot out for a corner.
As things stand, with Rangers drawing and Porto losing, Steven Gerrard’s side would advance to the next round.
GOAL! Feyenoord 1-1 Rangers (Morelos 52)
Rangers are level! Davis sprayed the ball wide to Kent on the left. Kent sent a lovely cross to the far post, leaving Senesei not knowing how to deal with it. While the defender tried to make up his mind, Morelos kept his eye on the ball and, without out even having to jump, heads it past the keeper from six yards. That’s his 23rd goal of the season, his 12th in this competition!
51 min: Wolves almost add to their lead. A delightful run and cross by Traoré gave Jota a chance to outjump the defender and nod towards goals. But the keeper made a decent save.
“In the action photos from Braga, the stands appear to be as empty as a pocket,” notes poor Peter Oh. “Are the Portuguese club serving some sort of closed stadium ban, or are Wolves not deemed exciting enough of a draw?” It sure is a small crowd. Maybe the ticket prices were too high? Or folks have been put off by the awful weather? There are plenty of Wolves fans there, though. I can’t see them but they’re making plenty of noise. Nuno had a dream, apparently.
Arsenal team v Eintracht Frankfurt
Here is the side that the still employed Unai Emery hopes has picked. Xhaka is back!:
Arsenal: Martinez; Mustafi, David Luiz, Sokratis, Chambers, Willock, Xhaka, Tierney; Martinelli, Aubameyang, Sako
Lots of half-time scores:
Braga 1-3 Wolves
Feyenoord 1-0 Rangers
Young Boys 1-0 Porto
CSKA 0-0 Ludogorets
Ferencvaros 1-1 Espanyol
Olesandra 0-1 Wolfsburg
Saint Etienne 0-0 Gent
Basakeshir 0-3 Roma
WAC 0-0 Monchengladbach
Besiktas 0-1 Slovan Bratislava
AZ Alkmaar 0-2 Partizan
Half-time: Back in Portugal, against a team wearing something close to the Arsenal kit, Nuno is having a ball. Wolves have come from behind to lead 3-1 and they fully deserve it. Jimenez has been particularly brilliant in a splendid collective performance so far. As for Rangers at Feyenoord, not so much. They trail 1-0 after being dominated in the first half.
43 min: Tavernier curls in a dangerous freekick, but Feyenoord clear. Still, Rangers are at least ending the half at the right end of the pitch.
41 min: Rangers are being overwhelmed in Rotterdam and can be grateful to Feyenoord’s shoddy finishing for the score being only 1-0.
GOAL! Besiktas 0-1 Slovan Bratislava (Daniel 35) A win would keep the Slovaks in contention, making their final group game – at home to Braga – very interesting.
GOAL! Braga 1-3 Wolves (Traoré 35)
Two goals in 82 seconds! And this, too, is a super finish, as Traoré rockets a low shot under the keeper from 16 yards. Wolves are heading for the knockout phase!
GOAL! Braga 1-2 Wolves (Doherty 34)
A lovely goal by the Irishman! Jimenez clipped in a cross and Doherty, having charged into the box, slams a header downwards past the keeper.
GOAL! Feyenoord 1-0 Rangers (Helander og 33)
Feyenoord’s domination reaps its reward, albeit with unwitting assistance from Rangers. First,a header by Barasic was too weak to count as a clearance, then Toornstra’s shot from 20 yards skimmed off Helander’s knee and into the net!
GOAL! Basakeshir 0-1 Roma (Veretout 30). The Italians take the lead through a penalty. If this were to be the final score, they would be right back in qualification contention. If the Turks can turn it around, they will go through.
28 min: Doherty does well down the right again for Wolves, but the keeper rushes out to claim his cross. But Wolves are doing even better down the left, where Jonny and Jota are making regular gains. Jota has just cracked a low shot wide of the far post after another sharp move.
GOAL! AZ Alkmaar 0-2 Partizan (Soumah 27) The Dutch side could seal qualification today, but not by playing the way they are at the moment.
23 min: Sinisterra skies the ball over the bar from 10 yards after Feyenoord open up Rangers down the right. Meanwhile, William Hargreaves has a grievance with my Nuno/Arsenal comment in the preamble. “There can’t be that many bigger and better run clubs than Arsenal, can there, over the last quarter century, for example? Okay, there’s the big two in Spain, one each in France, Italy and Germany, and two or three in England, debatably, but to suggest this wouldn’t be an exciting move up from Spurs seems a little dry? I’ve heard commentators describe their squad as the third best in the PL, they’re one of the most profitable (possibility of investment), and with that wealth of young talent coming on, I’d have thought a chap of Nuno’s capability and ambition would be chomping at the bit.” Firstly, Arsenal do not have the third best squad in the Premier League. Secondly, it’s the next 2-5 years – not the last 25 years – you need to be looking at. How well run are Arsenal now? Nuno could do better.
GOAL! Alkmaar 0-1 Partizan (Asano 16). The Serbs have to win this to remain in contention for qualification.
17 min: McGregor makes a terrific save to deny Sinisterra. Moments later, Feyenoord threaten again, with a shot by Larsson deflected wide at the near post.
Jimenez’s goal reminds me that one of the best headed goals I’ve ever seen was scored by a Mexcian. Remember this from Jared Borgetti at the 2002 World Cup?
GOAL! Braga 1-1 Wolves (Jimenez 13)
A lovely goal! Moutinho fed Jonny, who delivered a sumptuous cross to the back post. Jimenez arrived and angled an expert header in at the far post.
10 min: Doherty and Traoré combine nicely down the right until the latter slightly overruns the ball, giving the left-back an opportunity to step in and dispossesses him.
GOAL! Young Boys 1-0 Porto (Fassnacht 6). That will be enough to put the Swiss through in Rangers’ group if the score stays the same.
GOAL! Braga 1-0 Wolevs (A Horta 6)
The hosts take the lead with first shot of the match! But it was all thanks to a diabolical deflection off Ruben Neves. The young of the Horta brothers tried his luck from nearly 25 yards and Rui Patricio would have claimed it easily if not for the nick off Neves’ foot.
4 min: Rangers are having to play a containment game at the minute, as Feyenoord pop the ball around brightly in search of an opening.
3 min: Wolves have made a confident start in Braga, passing the ball around progressively. But Jota has just brought a promising move to an undignified end by donking a cross straight to the nearest defender.
Over at Feyenoord, meanwhile, the stadium is packed and very noisy. You’d suggest the atmosphere would be intimidating if you didn’t know Rangers are somewhat experienced in dealing with intensely hostile away environments.
The players of Braga and Wolves have entered the pitch, which almost looks like a paddyfield. Yep, it’s raining in Portugal like it’s never going to stop. Maybe that’s why there’s a very low turnout in the stands.
The other results from the earlier kickoffs:
Trabzonspor 0-1 Getafe. The Turks were already eliminated, the Spaniards’ fate will be decided on the last group day.
Krasnodor 1-0 Basel. Basel are already through. Krasnodor and Getafe will contest the group’s other qualifying spot.
Result: Astana 2-1 Manchester United
United gave debuts to seven players as they fielded their youngest ever team for a European club game. They could offer that learning experience because they had already booked their passage to the next round.
Scott Murray is covering Astana v Manchester United v Astana here, with the score 2-1 with 15 minutes to go. The only other goal in the early games so far has come in Turkey, where Trabzonspor are trailing 1-0 to Getafe.
Feyenoord v Rangers teams
Feyenoord: Marsman; Geertruida, Botteghin, Senesi, Malaca; Toomstra, Fer, Kokcu; Berghuis, Sinisterra, Larsson
Rangers: Mcgregor; Tavernier, Goldson, Helander, Barisic; Jack, Davis, Kamara; Ojo, Morelos, Kent
Braga v Wolves teams:
Braga: Eduardo; Esgaio, Vianna, Wallace, Sequeira; A Horta, Fransergio, Palhinha, R Horta; Paulinho, Galeno
Wolves: Rui Patricio; Dendoncker, Coady, Saïss; Doherty, Neves, Moutinho, Otto; Traoré, Jimenez, Jota
Hello. The Europa League group stages is reaching a climax and British clubs are well positioned. In the next hour Rangers and Wolves will be kicking off against their respective opponents knowing that victories could secure their place in the next round. A win or draw would definitely do the job for Wolves, who hope that Nuno Espirito Santo’s return to Portugal does not coincide with his last match as Wolves manager before Arsenal come calling. He would certainly be a good choice for Arsenal but would Arsenal be a good choice for him? He’s got a good thing going at Wolves, a club on the up and up. My free advice would be to continue building there and then if there comes a time when he fancies a move, bigger and better run clubs than Arsenal will be happy to have him. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves – which is something Nuno always warns against – and the matter to hand is to beat Braga, who are a very decent side and already won at Molineux earlier in the group.
Meanwhile, Rangers could advance if they win at Feyenoord (and Porto fail to beat Young Boys), who are a different outfit to the one they beat 1-0 at Ibrox earlier in the competition. Since then Jaap Stam has been given the boot and Feyenoord have hired none other than the former Rangers hero Dick Advocaat as their new manager. But Advocaat has lots of injury problems going into this game so Steven Gerrard will feel a win is within reach. Even a draw would be enough if Young Boys get the better of Porto.
Later, Arsenal and Celtic will be in action, too. In all, 17 teams could clinch a place in the last 32 today. Here’s a list – if you don’t like where your team is mentioned, take it up with the alphabet:
APOEL, AZ Alkmaar, Arsenal, Braga, CFR Cluj, Copenhagen, Dynamo Kyiv, Gent, İstanbul Başakşehir, LASK, Ludogorets, Mönchengladbach, Rangers, Sporting CP, Wolfsburg, Wolves, Young Boys