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Lukaku wins Roma draw at Feyenoord

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ROTTERDAM: Striker Romelu Lukaku showed his strength to force an equalizer as AS Roma held Feyenoord to a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their Europa League qualifier on Thursday.

Igor Paixao’s header just before half-time gave the Dutch club the lead, but they will now face it in next week’s second leg in Rome as they continue a growing rivalry with the Italian side .

Galatasaray and Sporting Lisbon won two of the other four kick-offs in the competition’s first knockout round.

Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk came from behind twice to draw 2-2 with Olympique Marseille as they clashed on neutral ground in Germany.

Lukaku leaned low to touch the shoulder and converted Leonardo Spinazzola’s cross to equalize in the 67th minute after Paixao, one of the shortest players on the pitch, slipped between the Roma defense to expertly head in Quilindschy Hartman’s cross and give Feyenoord the lead. at the break.

It was the third time in as many seasons that Feyenoord had faced Roma, who had beaten them 1-0 in the inaugural Europa Conference League final in Tirana in 2022 and 4-2 on aggregate in the League quarter-finals Europa last year.

Galatasaray scored a late winner through Mauro Icardi to secure a 3-2 victory over Sparta Prague in Istanbul.

The Turkish giants took an early lead when Kerem Demirbay scored a low shot in the 19th minute, but Sparta equalized two minutes into the second half as Angelo Precaido capitalized on a poor clearance to send the ball home.

Dries Mertens took advantage of a nasty defection from Sparta captain Ladislav Krejci to restore Galatasaray’s lead in the 61st minute, just before defender Victor Nelsson was sent off.

Sparta took advantage of the numerical superiority and equalized within four minutes when Jan Kuchta headed in a cross from Precaido.

Icardi, however, ensured a dramatic victory for the hosts and a slim lead to take ahead of next week’s return leg in the Czech capital.

Young Boys Bern defender Aurele Amenda converted the ball into his own net to give visitors Sporting the lead on the half-hour mark and 10 minutes later Viktor Gyokeres converted a penalty.

The Swiss hosts immediately reduced the score through Filip Ugrinic, but were 3-1 down three minutes into the second half as Goncalo Inacio increased Sporting’s lead.

Ukraine’s Shakhtar hosted Marseille in Hamburg and fell behind when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a half-volley in the 64th minute, but they equalized four minutes later when Mykola Matviyenko fired in a shot after it ricocheted on the Marseille wall from a free kick.

Marseille thought they had won when Iliman Ndiaye scored in the 90th minute, but the Ukrainians equalized again three minutes later thanks to Eguinaldo’s arrival from the end of the area to finish off Oleksandr Zubkov’s cross.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson; editing by Ed Osmond)

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