A round in the European League and the conference: Barcelona stumbles and Marseille beats Basel
Barcelona stumbled goalless with Galatasaray in the first leg of the round of 16 of the European League at Camp Nou on Thursday, while Rangers advanced 3-0 in their confrontation against Red Star Belgrade.
Barcelona, led by Xavi Hernandez, who plays in Europe’s second division for the first time since 2004, dominated for long periods.
But it was their Turkish visitors who almost snatched the lead ahead of the second leg in Istanbul next week, with Bafetimbi Gomis refusing to win after a VAR review for offside.
Memphis Depay, who started his first game since December, forced Galatasaray goalkeeper Inaki Pena to save twice in the first half.
Jordi Alba, Ousmane Dembele and Frenkie de Jong all came close in the second half for Barcelona, but the hosts were unable to achieve a breakthrough.
“The feeling is bad,” Xavi admitted to Movistar+. “It’s not a good result, playing at home and we controlled a lot.
“This is Europe, even if it’s the Europa League, and the teams are there based on their own merits.”
Xavi’s team has not lost in 90 minutes since its defeat against Bayern Munich in the last Champions League group stage match last year.
But the Catalan giants are likely to score a victory next Thursday to extend their bid to win this competition for the first time.
Rangers have taken a big step towards reaching the quarter-finals for the first time since losing the 2008 UEFA Cup Final to Zenit St Petersburg.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men consolidated their stunning win over Borussia Dortmund in the play-off with another dominant performance in the first leg against Red Star in Ibrox.
James Tavernier’s penalty and Alfredo Morelos’ 28th goal of the tournament put the hosts in charge.
Visiting midfielder Alexander Katai, who previously had two disallowed goals, was saved by Rangers goalkeeper Alan McGregor with a penalty.
The Scottish champions took full advantage, with Leon Balogun adding the third goal six minutes after the break to put the Glasgow giants in complete control ahead of the second leg.
“It’s an incredible achievement,” Rangers captain Tavernier told BT Sport. “We’re only halfway there but the boys were great.
“We’ve run it really well and put ourselves in a good position. We can’t be complacent, though and we’ll go there like it’s 0-0.”
Atalanta will advance to Germany next week after Luis Morel scored twice in a 3-2 win over Bayer Leverkusen in Bergamo.
Moussa Diaby, Leverkusen player, kept his eighth goal in seven matches in the 63rd minute.
On the other hand, Abel Ruiz scored in the first minute to lead Braga to a 2-0 victory over Monaco in Portugal, while Munir El Haddadi gave Sevilla a 1-0 win over West Ham at the start of the match.
Thriller with eight goals There was a glut of goals in the European Conference Third Division, as PSV Eindhoven and Copenhagen pulled off an impressive 4-4 draw.
The visiting Danish team took a 3-1, 4-3 lead at Phillips Stadium, but Iran Zahavi scored the equalizer with five minutes remaining for PSV Eindhoven after Cody Jacobo scored twice and missed a penalty.
Leicester beat Rennes 2-0 at the King Power Stadium to add an stoppage-time effort by Kelechi Iheanacho to Mark Albrighton’s opener after the half-hour mark.
“It was a really tough draw for us against a really good team,” said Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers.
“I thought the players were great. The level of concentration was very good.”
Jose Mourinho’s Roma beat Vitesse Arnhem 1-0 and Marseille conceded a late goal in their 2-1 win against FC Basel at the Stade Velodrome.
Feyenoord scored a landslide victory over Partizan Belgrade 5-2 in Serbia on a bad night for the country’s capitals, and Slavia Prague beat LASK 4-1.
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