Europa League | Arsenal overcome Koln challenge while Atalanta thrash Everton

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Europa League | Arsenal overcome Koln challenge while Atalanta thrash Everton

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SportsCafe Desk

09/15/2017

Arsenal produced a comeback victory, in their first ever Europa League game, against Koln thanks to second half goals from Sead Kolasinac, Alexis Sanchez, and Hector Bellerin. Everton, on the other hand, conceded three first half goals to start their European campaign off with a 3-0 loss.

Arsenal's first game in the Europa League, against German side FC Koln, was delayed after thousands of away fans showed up at the Emirates without tickets and clashed with the stewards inside the stadium. But once the game got under way, it was Koln who got on the scoresheet first when Jhon Cordoba spotted David Ospina, who had come out of his area to clear a long ball, off his line and produced a consummate shot-cum-lob from 40 yards. While Arsenal dominated possession they failed to test the Koln shot-stopper on regular occasions. 

Sensing changes needed to be made, Arsenal Wenger decided to bring in Sead Kolasinac for Rob Holding at the half time. Four minutes after joining the action, the Bosnian volleyed the ball in from inside the area to level the game. Arsenal piled on the pressure but failed to build any clear cut chances. But they did take the lead thanks to some individual brilliance from Alexis Sanchez, who curled the ball into the far post with the keeper stranded to his spot. Hector Bellerin, then, made it 3-1 by tapping the ball in, from close range, after Timo Horn had saved Walcott's low shot. 

The only other English side in the Europa League, Everton, were completely decimated in Italy by Atalanta, who dominated the game from start to finish. After Everton started the game with a couple of shots from distance, the home side took the lead, in the 27th minute, when the English side failed to clear a corner and the ball ricocheted off Phil Jagielka's hip for Andrea Masiello to tap in from a few yards out. It went from bad to worse for the Merseyside club who conceded two goals in as many minutes, from Alejandro Gomez and Bryan Cristante, to go into the break trailing by three goals. Although both sides tried to be aggressive in the second half, the game ended with the same scoreline and Everton will now need to do well to qualify out of the group that also contains Lyon.

An Andre Silva hat-trick, AC Milan's first European hat-trick since Kaka's in 2006, saw the Italian giants begin their European expedition by hammering Austria Wien 5-1. After a couple of half chances, Milan took the lead in the seventh minute when Hakan Calhanoglu blasted the ball into the net from a tightish angle. Three minutes later, the Turkish international produced a pinpoint through ball for Silva who produced a wonderful finish to double Milan's lead. The same combination ensured Wien were three down in 20 minutes as £34m Silva notched up his brace. 

The Austrians tried to launch a fightback with a 47th minute headed goal from Alexandar Borkovic but Milan's Portuguese striker completed his hat-trick 11 minutes after the interval to make the result a formality. Suso added a bit of extra shine to the scoreline with a brilliant long range effort. With AEK Athens and Rijeka completing the group, Milan looked heavy favorites to book a place for themselves in the round of 32 in their first foray in Europe in four years.

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