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Europa round-up Celtic boss sees encouraging signs despite Europa League defeat as West Ham win


Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou.

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou.

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou.

West Ham launched their Europa League campaign with an impressive win in Croatia but Leicester surrendered a two-goal lead to draw with Napoli on Thursday.

Celtic also threw away a 2-0 lead as they were beaten by Real Betis and Scottish champions Rangers found Lyon too strong.

The Hammers were in good form as they announced their arrival in the competition with a 2-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb in Group H.

The influential Michail Antonio put them on course for victory in the 22nd minute and Declan Rice doubled the lead for David Moyes’ side five minutes into the second half.

Leicester also looked strong in their Group C encounter at the King Power Stadium. Ayoze Perez struck early and Harvey Barnes doubled the advantage soon after Patson Daka had a goal ruled out for offside by VAR.

Yet things began to unravel after Victor Osimhen pulled one back after 69 minutes. The same player grabbed an equaliser three minutes from time and the Foxes were left hanging on for a point after Wilfred Ndidi was sent off.

Celtic started superbly in Spain but were stunned to leave the Benito Villamarin Stadium on the wrong end of a 4-3 defeat.

Albian Ajeti struck and then won a penalty for Josip Juranovic to double the lead inside the opening half-hour.

Things turned sour, though, as Manuel Pellegrini’s side hit back to level with two goals in quick succession from Juan Miranda and Juanmi.

Borja Iglesias then put the hosts ahead early in the second half and Juanmi increased the advantage with his second. Anthony Ralston gave the Hoops late hope but Betis held on.

“I’m really proud of the players,” Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou told the club's TV channel . “Against a quality opponent, we took the game to them.

“We had our moments in the game where it could have got away from them and unfortunately we didn’t do that. They have some quality up front that punished us.

“The players hung in there right to the end and it was a good game.

“I couldn’t ask any more from the players, the football we played was exactly the type of team we want to be.

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“Yeah, there are areas we still want to improve, but when you come away from home and score three goals and create many more chances apart from that, I think moving forward there are some good signs here.”

Rangers went down 2-0 to a slick Lyon side at Ibrox. Karl Toko Ekambi hit a stunning opener in the first half for the French side and home captain James Tavernier turned into his own net after the break.

The defeat left Rangers bottom of Group A after Brondby and Sparta Prague played out a goalless draw.

Genk joined West Ham level at the top of Group H after an injury-time strike from Paul Onuachu secured a 1-0 win at Rapid Vienna.

The other match in Celtic’s group, meanwhile, saw Bayer Leverkusen come from behind to beat Ferencvaros 2-1 with goals from Exequiel Palacios and Florian Wirtz.

Galatasaray benefited from an own goal as they opened in Group E with a 1-0 victory over Lazio in Istanbul.

Goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha got the final touch after a cross from Olimpiu Vasile Morutan was diverted towards his own goal by defender Manuel Lazzari in the 67th minute.

Substitute Tino Anjorin scored an 89th-minute equaliser as Lokomotiv Moscow snatched a 1-1 draw at home to Marseille.

In Group F, an 85th-minute penalty from Aleksandar Katai gave Red Star Belgrade a 2-1 win over Sporting Braga while Midtjylland and Ludogorets drew 1-1.

Monaco beat Sturm Graz 1-0 in Group B courtesy of a Krepin Diatta winner while PSV Eindhoven and Real Sociedad drew 2-2.

Mario Gotze’s 32nd-minute opener for PSV was quickly wiped out as Adnan Januzaj and Alexander Isak hit back within the next seven minutes for Sociedad but Cody Gakpo secured a point for the Dutch.

Oleg Reabciuk claimed an 87th-minute winner as Olympiacos began in Group D with a 2-1 victory over 10-man Antwerp. Youssef El-Arabi was also on target for the Greeks while Antwerp, who replied through Ally Mbwana Samatta, had Jelle Bataille sent off late on.

Former Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil opened the scoring for Fenerbahce at Eintracht Frankfurt but the German side secured a 1-1 draw with a Sam Lammers equaliser.

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