By Izuchukwu Okosi
Arsenal defeated 10-man Red Star Belgrade 1-0 away win on Thursday night at the Stadion Rajko Mitic in their Group H clash of the UEFA Europa League to virtually claim a Round of 32 place after three wins out of three matches, reportsNewslegend.com.ng.
Frenchman Olivier Giroud scored a brilliant overhead kick in the 85th minute after good exchange of passes by Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott to give Arsenal the win in the headline fixture of the competition that kicked off at 6pm..
Red Star were reduced to 10 men when Milan Rodic was sent off ten minutes to full time after receiving his second yellow card of the night.
Super Eagles star and former Akwa United forward Alhassan Ibrahim was an unused substitute as Austria Wien were defeated 2-1 by Rijeka.
In Israel, there was injury scare for Super Eagles midfielder John Ogu as he was substituted in the 29th minute of Hapoel Beer Sheva’s 2-1 defeat at home against FC FCSB in Group G. Anthony Nwakaeme played for all 90 minutes for Hapoel.
Harlem-Eddy Gnohere grabbed his brace for FCSB in the 70 minutes and 75 minutes while Hapoel pulled a goal back through former Barcelona forward Isaac Cuenca on 87 minutes.
Former U-23 star Imoh Ezekiel was in action for 14 minutes as his Turkish club, Konyaspor lost 2-0 to Austrian side Salzburg.
Ezekiel’s compatriot Patrick Eze played for 62 minutes before he was substituted off. Konyaspor thus dropped to third in their group on three points, while Salzburg are top on seven points.
Former Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli scored for Nice through a well placed header albeit the team lost 3-1 to Lazio.
However Felipe Caicedo (fifth minute) and a brace from Sergei Milinkovic-Savic (65th, 89th minutes) sealed the win for Lazio.
In Sweden, Nigerian striker Salisu Abdullahi ‘Alhaji Gero’ was on target for Oestersunds and was also booked (yellow) in their 2-2 draw against Spanish Athletic Bilbao.
The former El Kanemi, Lobi Stars and Enugu Rangers forward scored in the 52nd minute to draw the hosts level after they went behind. Oestersunds then took the lead only for Athletic to grab a late equaliser through Inaki Williams.
Peter Olayinka played all 90 minutes as his Belgian side Zulte Waregem drew 1-1 against Dutch side Vitesse.
Europa League Group stage results:
Hapoel Beer Sheva 1 vs 2 FC FCSB
Lugano 3 vs 2 Viktoria Plzen
Bate Borisov 1 vs 0 FC Cologne
Red Star Belgrade 0 vs 1 Arsenal
Konyaspor 0 vs 2 Salzburg
Marseille 2 vs 1 Vitoria De Guimaraes
Oestersunds 2 vs 2 Athletic Bilbao
Zorya 2 vs 1 Hertha Berlin
Nice 1 vs 3 Lazio
Zulte-Waregem 1 vs 1 Vitesse
Skopje 0 vs 6 Real Sociedad
St Petersburg 3 vs 1 Rosenborg
Astana 4-0 Maccabi Tel Aviv