Saturday, Jul 02, 2022
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UEFA Europa League Wrap: Barcelona Held By Galatasaray, Sevilla Beat West Ham

Playing in Europe's second-tier competition after failing to advance to the UEFA Champions League knockout stages, Barcelona couldn't score.

Barcelona's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, right, vies for the ball with Galatasaray's Marcao.
Barcelona's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, right, vies for the ball with Galatasaray's Marcao. AP Photo

Barcelona's newfound attacking verve vanished as the club was held to a 0-0 draw by Galatasaray at Camp Nou in the first leg of the round of 16 of the Europa League. (More Football News)

Barcelona is having a miserable season but had shown signs of recovery lately by winning four straight games in all competitions and scoring a combined 14 goals in that stretch.

But playing in Europe's second-tier competition after failing to advance to the Champions League knockout stages for the first time since 2004, the Spanish giant couldn't come closer to a goal than when Frenkie de Jong hit the post.

Barca now faces a tricky return leg in Turkey in the only competition it still has a realistic chance of winning.

Barcelona is out of the Copa del Rey and trails Spanish league leader Real Madrid by 15 points.

Earlier, Moroccan forward Munir scored in the second half to give six-time Europa League champion Sevilla a 1-0 win over West Ham.

Sevilla's experience proved the difference against a team playing its first European knockout game in 40 years as the English side couldn't take its chances in an evenly balanced game at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium, which will host the final in May.

In other games, Rangers beat Red Star Belgrade 3-0, Atalanta recovered from a goal down to top Leverkusen 3-2, and Braga blanked Monaco 2-0. 

Leipzig's meeting with Spartak Moscow was cancelled after all Russian clubs were expelled from international competitions following that country's military invasion of Ukraine. Leipzig directly qualified for the quarterfinals.

In the Europa Conference League, Jose Mourinho's Roma registered a 1-0 victory away at Dutch team Vitesse. Leicester secured a 2-0 home win over Rennes and Feyenoord rallied for a 5-2 victory at Partizan Belgrade. 

Marseille, Bodø/Glimt, Slavia Prague and PAOK also earned first-leg victories.

The second leg games are scheduled for March 17. 

EUROPA LEAGUE

Barcelona dominated possession but struggled to create clear-cut chances and not even newly signed striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could spark the attack when he came on as a substitute.

Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui had to make a last-minute change to his lineup after Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic picked up an injury during the warmup. He was replaced by Munir, and the change paid off when the Moroccan forward half-volleyed the winner past West Ham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola on the stroke of the hour.

Former Manchester United forward Anthony Martial came off the bench for Sevilla in his return from an injury, but the Spanish team was without several other key players, including Diego Carlos and Papu Gómez.

Nikola Vlašic had West Ham's best chance 10 minutes into the game but his close-range header was saved by Sevilla goalkeeper Yassine Bounou.

After eliminating Borussia Dortmund, Rangers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in a four-minute span early in the first half. Captain James Tavernier scored from the penalty spot in the 11th and Alfredo Morelos doubled the advantage with a low shot.

Leon Balogun finished it off with a header in the second half.

Ruslan Malinovsky and Luis Muriel both scored in a two-minute span to spark Atalanta's comeback after Leverkusen took the lead though Charles Aránguiz. Muriel added his second after halftime before Moussa Diaby pulled one back with a curling shot.

Braga took the lead in the third minute through Abel Ruiz and substitute Vitor Oliveira added the second a minute from time. 

Two matches were played on Wednesday, with Lyon winning 1-0 at Porto and Eintracht Frankfurt edging Real Betis 2-1 in Spain.

EUROPA CONFERENCE LEAGUE

Sérgio Oliveira scored the winner in first-half injury time for Roma.

With Leicester striker Jamie Vardy out injured again, Marc Albrighton and substitute Kelechi Iheanacho netted a goal each to secure a 2-0 victory over Rennes.

Poland forward Arkadiusz Milik converted from the spot and added one more on a rebound for Marseille to beat Basel 2-1.

After knocking out Scottish giant Celtic, Norwegian upstart Bodø/Glimt beat AZ Alkmaar 2-1 for its eighth straight home victory in Europe. 

The highest-scoring game of the night was in Eindhoven, where Copenhagen led 1-0, 3-1 and 4-3 against PSV but had to settle for a 4-4 draw. 

Partizan led 2-1 after substitute Nemanja Jovic volleyed in 40 seconds into the second half but Feyenoord scored four unanswered goals to take a massive lead back home for the second leg. 

Slavia Prague's Yira Sor scored two first-half goals on fast counters to spark a 4-1 home win over Austria's LASK. Also, PAOK defeated Gent 1-0.

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