Tearful Morata earns win for Chelsea

Alvaro Morata (Getty Images)
Alvaro Morata (Getty Images)

Paris - An emotional Alvaro Morata snapped his recent goal drought to secure a 1-0 win for Chelsea over Hungarian champions Vidi in the Europa League on Thursday, as Arsenal cruised to a 3-0 victory away to Qarabag in Azerbaijan.

Spain striker Morata, without a goal since August 18, wasted a terrific chance in the first half at Stamford Bridge but atoned with a sharp finish on 70 minutes to put Chelsea ahead.

Substitute Ross Barkley also headed against the crossbar, while Kepa Arrizabalaga - the world's most expensive goalkeeper - produced an excellent save to deny Istvan Kovacs a late equaliser.

"If after a goal he wants to cry, I hope to see him cry very often," Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri said of Morata, who scored for just the second time in 10 outings this season.

"It's very important for him to score. I think it's very important for him to play a very good match. He played a very good match."

Chelsea head Group L with a maximum six points with PAOK - 4-1 winners over BATE Borisov - level on three points alongside the Belarusian champions.

In Baku, Sokratis bundled in a Nacho Monreal header on four minutes, with Arsenal academy graduate Emile Smith Rowe and French youngster Matteo Guendouzi also scoring their first goals for the club.

The Gunners extended their winning run to eight matches and lead Sporting Lisbon on goal difference at the top of Group E, after the Portuguese side snatched a 2-1 win in Ukraine with two late goals against Vorskla Poltava.

"It was a difficult game. Every match is important for us. We played an away game against a strong opponent," said Arsenal boss Unai Emery.

"Qarabag is an ambitious team and we had to try a lot today. However, in the end, the desired result was achieved."

Arsenal's Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan did not make the trip to Azerbaijan due to diplomatic tensions between the country and his homeland.

Contrasting fortunes for Old Firm rivals

Celtic slumped to a 3-1 defeat against Red Bull Salzburg despite taking the lead in Austria.

Odsonne Edouard struck after just two minutes, but a brace from Munas Dabbur and a goal from Japanese forward Takumi Minamino gave Salzburg a second win in two Group B matches.

Celtic lost James Forrest to a straight red card after he upended Andreas Ulmer in the area, with Dabbur converting the resulting penalty to condemn Brendan Rodgers' side.

Seven-time European champions AC Milan recovered from a goal down at home to Olympiakos to claim a 3-1 victory in Group F, as Patrick Cutrone scored twice either side of a Gonzalo Higuain effort.

Steven Gerrard's Rangers overcame Rapid Vienna 3-1 at Ibrox as Alfredo Morelos netted twice and James Tavernier scored from the spot after the hosts fell behind to a Veton Berisha effort.

"I have been blown away by my players' performance," Gerrard told BT Sport.

"The level was well deserving of the Europa League, and if we perform like that in our next two home games we'll get out of this group. That's the best we've played."

Last year's runners-up Marseille threw away a two-goal lead in Cyprus and were forced to settle for a 2-2 draw against Apollon Limassol.

Goals by Dimitri Payet and Luiz Gustavo put the French club in control, but Sasa Markovic pulled one back before Emilio Zelaya fired home in stoppage time.

Five-time winners Sevilla suffered a 2-1 defeat at Krasnodar as Tornike Okriashvili hit an 88th-minute winner for the Russians, while Eintracht Frankfurt beat nine-man Lazio 4-1.

Santi Cazorla scored his first goal in over two years as he tucked away a 96th-minute penalty to snatch a 3-3 draw for Villarreal away to Spartak Moscow.

The 77-times capped Spanish international, who is now 33, suffered a serious Achilles injury playing for Arsenal in the Champions League in October 2016.

After eight operations, the little attacking midfielder suffered a serious infection in the tendon that almost led to an amputation.

But he fought back and recently returned to Villarreal, seven years after his departure for Malaga.

Group A

FC Zurich (SUI) 1 (Palsson 84) Ludogorets (BUL) 0

Bayer Leverkusen (GER) 4 (Havertz 44, Alario 49, 88, Brandt 90+2) AEK Larnaca (CYP) 2 (Trickovski 25, Raspas 90+1)

Group B

RB Salzburg (AUT) 3 (Dabbur 55, 73-pen, Minamino 61) Celtic (SCO) 1 (Edouard 2)

Rosenborg (NOR) 1 (Jebali 79) RB Leipzig (GER) 3 (Augustin 12, Konate 54, Cunha 61)

Group C

Zenit (RUS) 1 (Kokorin 80) Slavia Prague (CZE) 0

Bordeaux (FRA) 1 (Sankhare 84) FC Copenhagen (DEN) 2 (Sotiriou 42, Skov 90+2)

Group D

Anderlecht (BEL) 0 Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) 2 (Hajrovic 19-pen, Gojak 68)

Fenerbahce (TUR) 2 (Slimani 52, 68) Spartak Trnava (SVK) 0

Group E

Qarabag (AZE) 0 Arsenal (ENG) 3 (Sokratis 4, Smith-Rowe 53, Guendouzi 79)

Vorskla Poltava (UKR) 1 (Kulach 10) Sporting (POR) 2 (Montero 90, Cabral 90+3)

Group F

AC Milan (ITA) 3 (Cutrone 70, 79, Higuain 76) Olympiakos (GRE) 1 (Guerrero 14)

Betis (ESP) 3 (Sanabria 57, Lo Celso 80, Tello 89) Dudelange (LUX) 0

Group G

Rangers (SCO) 3 (Morelos 44, 90+4, Tavernier 84-pen) Rapid Vienna (AUT) 1 (Berisha 42)

Spartak Moscow (RUS) 3 (Ze Luis 34-pen, 82, Melgarejo 85) Villarreal (ESP) 3 (Toko Ekambi 13, Fornals 49, Cazorla 90+6-pen)

Group H

Eintracht Frankfurt (GER) 4 (Da Costa 4, 90+4, Kostic 28, Jovic 52) Lazio (ITA) 1 (Parolo 23)

Apollon Limassol (CYP) 2 (Markovic 74, Zelaya 90+1) Marseille (FRA) 2 (Payet 50, Luiz Gustavo 67)

Group I

Sarpsborg (NOR) 3 (Mortensen 6, 63, Zachariassen 54) Genk (BEL) 1 (Trossard 49)

Malmo (SWE) 2 (Erkin 53-og, Rosenberg 76-pen) Besiktas (TUR) 0

Group J

Standard Liege (BEL) 2 (Emond 17, Djenepo 40) Akhisar (TUR) 1 (Ayik 32)

Krasnodar (RUS) 2 (Pereyra 72, Okriashvili 88) Sevilla (ESP) 1 (Kabore 43-og)

Group K

Astana (KAZ) 2 (Zaynutdinov 64, Tomasov 90+1) Rennes (FRA) 0

Jablonec (CZE) 2 (Hovorka 33, Travnik 81) Dynamo Kiev (UKR) 2 (Tsygankov 8, Garmash 15)

Group L

Chelsea (ENG) 1 (Morata 70) Vidi (HUN) 0

BATE (BLR) 1 (Crespo 61-og) PAOK (GRE) 4 (Prijovic 6, Leo Jaba 11, 17, Pelkas 73)

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