Europa League: Napoli hold Barca; Rangers stun Dortmund

Piotr Zielinski
Napoli's Piotr Zielinski celebrates scoring their opening goal. Photo: Reuters/Albert Gea

Barcelona: Barcelona were held 1-1 at home by Napoli in the first leg of their Europa League knockout stage play-off tie on Thursday, while Scottish side Rangers shocked Borussia Dortmund with a 4-2 win in Germany.

Barca dominated proceedings but found themselves a goal down to the Italians after Piotr Zielinski finished off a counter-attack in the 29th minute.

Barca forward Ferran Torres equalised shortly before the hour mark from the penalty spot after the video assistant referee had spotted a very subtle Juan Jesus' handball from a Adama Traore cross inside the area.

 Ferran Torres
Barcelona's Ferran Torres celebrates scoring their equaliser. Photo: Reuters/Albert Gea

Barca were on the front foot throughout with their brand new attacking trident formed by new signings Torres, Traore and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but missed several chances to take the lead.

Napoli held on as they were bombarded in the last 10 minutes, with Torres and substitutes Luuk de Jong and Ousmane Dembele missing chance after chance in front of Alex Meret's goal. The second leg will be played at Napoli next week.

"I'm disappointed about the result, not about our game," coach Xavi Hernandez told a news conference. "This is the way, we played well and deserved much more. The result is very unfair."

Elsewhere, Real Betis defeated 3-2 Zenit St Petersburg after scoring twice in the first 20 minutes through Guido Rodriguez and Willian Jose. But the Russian side fought back to equalise with two goals in three minutes scored by Artem Dzyuba and Malcom.

However, veteran midfielder Andres Guardado found the winner for Betis right before half-time, as the La Liga side held on to hand Zenit their first home loss since October, 2021.

Sheriff Tiraspol beat Braga 2-0 at home in Moldova thanks to goals from Sebastien Thill and Adama Traore. However, the shock of the night came in Germany as Rangers beat Bundesliga's second-placed side Borussia Dortmund 4-2.

Later, Porto fought back to get a 2-1 home win against Lazio thanks to a brace from Spanish striker Toni Martinez. Atalanta also came back from a goal down to beat Olympiakos Piraeus 2-1 at home.

In Germany, Leipzig rescued a 2-2 draw against Real Sociedad thanks to a late Emil Forsberg penalty.

In Spain, La Liga second-placed side Sevilla won 3-1 against Dinamo Zagreb, with French forward Anthony Martial scoring his first goal for the Spanish side, and are one step closer to advancing in a competition they have won a record six times.

"Our fans know the Europa League really well and they love it," Sevilla captain Ivan Rakitic told reporters. "We have to enjoy it step by step. I like our chances here and in LaLiga too."

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