Arsenal, Spurs, AC Milan start off with wins

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Tottenham Hotspur's Welsh striker Gareth Bale (L) jumps to head the ball against Linzer ASK's Austrian defender Marvin Potzmann (R) during the UEFA Europa League 1st round Group J football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Linzer ASK at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on October 22, 2020. (Photo by Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP)

AP

London

Gareth Bale had a quiet first start for Tottenham since returning to the London club, while Carlos Vinicius made a more impressive debut by setting up two goals in a 3-0 win over LASK in the Europa League on Thursday.

North London rival Arsenal opened their fourth straight Europa League campaign with a 2-1 come-from-behind win at Rapid Vienna in an opening round of games affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

On a good night for Premier League clubs, Leicester earned a comfortable 3-0 home win over Zorya Luhansk. AC Milan earned a 3-1 away win at Celtic, while Roma came from a goal down to win 2-1 at Young Boys – as did Granada to upset PSV Eindhoven away.

Rangers’ Kemar Roofe scored the goal of the night in a 2-0 victory at Standard Liege, dribbling his way through three opponents inside his own half and then launching a shot from the halfway line that caught the goalkeeper off guard and looped into the net. Dutch team AZ Alkmaar overcame a slew of coronavirus cases to upset Napoli 1-0.

After coming on as a substitute against West Ham for his first appearance since returning to Tottenham, Bale played more than an hour against in the Group J match against Austria’s LASK, and had a hand in Tottenham’s second goal.

The forward, who is on loan from Real Madrid, collected a pass from Erik Lamela in the 27th and sent a low cross into the area from the right that defender Andres Andrade deflected into his own. Earlier, Lucas Moura finished off another free-flowing move to open the scoring after being set up by Vinicius. The Brazilian, who is on loan from Benfica, created several other chances before teeing up substitute Son Heung-­min to wrap up the win six minutes from time.

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho is looking to win the competition for a third time with a third club, having won it with Porto and Manchester United. In the other group game, Ludogorets lost 2-1 at home to Royal Antwerp.

Arsenal went behind when goalkeeper Bernd Leno played a poor pass that fell to Rapid forward Taxiarchis Fountas, who slotted in a low shot from a tough angle in the 51st minute. Manager Mikel Arteta sent on Pierre­ Emerick Aubameyang and Hector Bellerin in the 61st, and the substitutes helped spark the comeback.

After David Luiz headed in a free kick from Nicolas Pépé to level the score, Mohamed Elneny freed Bellerín down the right to cross for Aubameyang to complete the comeback from close range for Arsenal, which won its group in its previous three campaigns in the second-tier European competition. In the other Group B game, Molde also came from behind to win 2-1 at Dundalk.

AZ Alkmaar flew into Naples with 13 players sidelined with coronavirus infections. Napoli, meanwhile, were coming off a 4-1 win over high-scoring Atalanta 4-1 this past weekend. But the Dutch staved off the hosts’ pressure before Dani de Wit scored the winner in the 57th. Real Sociedad won 1-0 at Rijeka the other Group F game.

In Group E, Milan didn’t need Zlatan Ibraimovic to score this time, as Rade Krunic and Brahim Díaz netted in the first half at Celtic. Substitute Jens Petter Hauge added the third for Milan in injury time after Celtic pulled one back through Mohamed Elyounoussi.