Dort­mund stage a re­mark­able re­cov­ery

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY ANDY SCOTT

Borus­sia Dort­mund came from three goals down to beat Nor­we­gian side Odd 4-3 in a re­mark­able Europa League match on Thurs­day, while Southamp­ton were held at home by the Dan­ish cham­pi­ons Midtjyl­land.

AFP Sports rounds up the ac­tion from the pick of Thurs­day’s play-off, first-leg games:

— Dort­mund con­tin­ued their per­fect start to life un­der new coach Thomas Tuchel with a 4-3 win away to Nor­we­gian side Odd, but they needed a re­mark­able re­cov­ery from three goals down to do it. In Skien, two hours south of Oslo, the hosts looked on course to claim a fa­mous win as goals from Jone Sa­muelsen, Fredrik Nord­kvelle and Espen Ruud put them 3-0 up by the mid­way point in the first half. Dort­mund, whose start­ing line-up fea­tured five mem­bers of the team beaten by Bay­ern Mu­nich in the 2013 Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal, got back on level terms thanks to a Pier­reEm­er­ick Aubameyang brace ei­ther side of a Shinji Ka­gawa strike. And Ar­me­nian star Hen­rikh Mkhi­taryan emerged as the hero, scor­ing his sev­enth goal in four games to win it for the Bun­desliga club and leave them with one foot in the group stage.

— Southamp­ton have work to do if they are to join Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur and Liver­pool and make it three English clubs in the group stage af­ter they were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Dan­ish cham­pi­ons Midtjyl­land. The visi­tors opened the scor­ing at St Mary’s cour­tesy of the Fin­nish in­ter­na­tional Tim Sparv. A for­mer Saints academy player, his cel­e­bra­tions were muted af­ter he bat­tered a left- foot shot past Maarten Steke­len­burg and into the net on the stroke of half-time. How­ever, Ron­ald Koe­man’s side hit back to equal­ize from the penalty spot in the 56th minute. Af­ter James Ward-Prowse was fouled by Kian Hansen, Jay Ro­driguez stepped up to score from 12 yards. It was his first goal for Southamp­ton since March 2014 fol­low­ing a long lay-off with a knee in­jury. The Premier League club al­most won the game, with Maya Yoshida head­ing against a post deep into stop­page time.

— Wedged in be­tween the sec­ond leg of their Span­ish Su­per Cup tri­umph over Barcelona on Mon­day and a re­match with the Cata­lans at San Mames in their open­ing game of the sea­son in La Liga on Sun­day, a trip to face MSK Zilina in Slo­vakia looked like be­ing a haz­ardous one for Ath­letic Bil­bao. And so it proved for the beaten 2012 fi­nal­ists, who threw away a two-goal lead to lose 3-2. With a start­ing line-up much changed from Mon­day’s match at the Camp Nou, Ath­letic were 2-0 up at half-time thanks to goals by Sabin Merino and Kike Sola. How­ever, Jakub Paur pulled a goal back for Zilina be­fore Brazil­ian for­ward Wil­liam, on as a sub­sti­tute, equal­ized in the 77th minute and then net­ted the win­ning goal four min­utes into stop­page time. — Robin van Per­sie scored his first goal for Fener­bahce since join­ing the Turk­ish club from Manch­ester United for 4.7 mil­lion eu­ros (US$5.2 mil­lion) last month. The 32-year-old Dutch in­ter­na­tional striker re­placed Moussa Sow 10 min­utes from the end of Fener’s match away to Greek side Atro­mi­tos in Athens and net­ted a 90th-minute win­ner. The 1-0 vic­tory leaves the 2013 semi­fi­nal­ists primed to clinch a place in the group stage in the re­turn leg next Thurs­day.

— The in­di­vid­ual per­for­mance of the evening came from Slo­vakian for­ward Robert Mak. The for­mer Nurem­berg player scored a hat-trick and set up fur­ther goals for team-mates Dim­itris Pelkas and Garry Ro­drigues as his Greek side PAOK ham­mered Brondby 5-0.

AP

1. Southamp­ton’s Jay Ro­driguez, left, heads the ball dur­ing the Europa League play-off first leg soc­cer match be­tween Southamp­ton and Midtjyl­land in Southamp­ton, Eng­land, Thurs­day, Aug. 20. 2. Rosen­borg’s Ole Se­laes cel­e­brates at the end of an Europa League Play­offs first leg match against Steaua at the Na­tional Arena Sta­dium in Bucharest, Ro­ma­nia, Thurs­day. 3. Midtjyl­land’s Tim Sparv, left, scores his sides first goal dur­ing the Europa League play­off first leg soc­cer match be­tween Southamp­ton and Midtjyl­land in Southamp­ton, Thurs­day.

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