Linfield earn impressive first-leg win over Qarabag

Shayne Lavery was the hero as Northern Ireland’s Linfield secure one of the best results in their history in the first leg of their Europa League play-off against Qarabag.

The 20-year-old scored the second and third goals in a 3-2 victory, becoming the first Linfield player to score in three successive European games since Arthur Thomas 53 years ago.

Faycal Rherras scored first for the Azerbaijan champions, who faced Arsenal and Sporting in last year’s competition and took two points off Atletico Madrid in the Champions League in 2017.

Mark Stafford’s header changed the momentum five minutes before half-time, with Lavery putting them ahead in added time before adding another midway through the second half.

Former Everton forward Magaye Gueye’s penalty in the second minute of added time made the return leg slightly more difficult.

There were good results for British sides with Wolves and Celtic winning and Rangers getting a creditable goalless draw against Legia Warsaw in Poland.

Wolves scored important away goals in a 3-2 win at Torino with Diogo Jota and Raul Jimenez adding to Brazilian Bremer’s own goal.

However, Andrea Belotti’s 89th-minute penalty, adding to Lorenzo De Silvestri’s goal, gave the Italians hope.

Celtic bounced back from their deflating Champions League exit with a 2-0 home win over Swedish side AIK thanks to goals from James Forrest and Odsonne Edouard.

Former Norwich and Swansea midfielder Leroy Fer scored twice as Feyenoord beat Israeli side Hapoel Beer-Sheva 3-0, with Sam Larsson scoring the other in Rotterdam.

PSV Eindhoven beat Apollon, from Cyprus, by the same score but fellow Eredivisie side AZ Alkmaar were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Royal Antwerp.

Former Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge’s new club Trabzonspor won 3-1 away to AEK, with ex-Leeds forward Caleb Ekuban scoring a hat-trick.

Copenhagen beat Riga by the same scoreline, with former Middlesbrough midfielder Viktor Fischer opening the scoring.

Espanyol were 3-1 winners at home to Ukranians Zorya Luhansk while former Manchester United winger Zoran Tosic scored in Partizan Belgrade’s 2-1 win against Molde.

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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