Lots of games happening in the Europa League tonight, but it was a sliding extra time goal from US midfielder and Rangers clutch-man Maurice Edu that has sent the boys from Glasgow through to the next round on away goals.
US defender Oguchialu Onyewu was in action with Twente as well. Big guy has been getting starts and playing pretty well. Highlights of the match after the bump, along with highlights of the Villarreal – Napoli game, the pick of the litter last night.
Lots of action happening today in Europe’s second most awesome club tournament. I’m sure you can find the rules that deposit teams into this tournament instead of its big brother, the Champions League, but here’s a very general overview:
Teams not reaching the Champions League threshold at the end of their respective domestic seasons are pushed into the Europa League, to be joined by Champions League castaways after the group stages. Each domestic league has a defined number of Champs and Europa League slots. There are some playoffs before the tournaments start, but ultimately you’ve got what are supposed to be the best club teams in Europe (+ Israel, Turkey, Russia – point of discussion here) playing each other for some trophies. Most importantly, more games means more television revenue, and these big sides with heavy salary demands need to get into these tournaments each year or they’ll dip quickly into the red.
As we admitted a couple weeks ago (here), we don’t understand the how or why of the Europa League. And after 16 Champions League games over the past two days, we’re not particularly jonesing to watch more pan-European club matches today. But if you are, there are 24 games today (48 teams in the league, recall).
The ones we would watch, if we were forced to sit down and do so, are the following (pulled from UEFA’s Europa League page, “all times are CET“–you do the math for your timezone)
As Sean wrote last week, “It’s tough to care much about the beginning of the European footballing season. After the buzz of the World Cup and the always fun transfer drama, club football’s jerky starts seem less urgent.” But with the Champions League getting started over the past two days, and now the Europa League kicking off today, there are really just too many appealing matches to keep up with.
To be brutally honest, we (or rather I) don’t really understand the Europa League–who qualifies and how and why? Who knows. But at the end of the day, it means midweek games between the (not-quite-)top clubs in Europe.
So w/o further ado, here is the link to the fixtures and results.
Notable results: Man City beats Salzburg 2-0 in Austria, but La Liga table-toppers Atletico Madrid lose…to Aris Thessaloniki FC?! We don’t know anything about the latter side..though we think it’s a safe to assume they’re Greek. Villareal also lost to Dinamo Zagreb (we did learn from @SoccerInsiderthat Jozy Altidore got a full 90mins in that match), while Dynamo Kyiv drew with FC BATE Borisov at home…
Well, there are too many matches to give a full run-down. There are 48 teams in this league (split into 12 groups (A-L) of 4 teams each), and they all played today on Matchday 1, so that means 24 matches! Matchday 2 is in two weeks, on Thursday September 30, with 24 more matches.