September 20, 2018 / 7:37 PM / in 2 months

Soccer-Marseille suffer surprise loss in Europa League opener

LONDON, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Olympique de Marseille were the fall guys on a hectic opening night of the Europa League group stage as Eintracht Frankfurt returned from the south of France with a surprise 2-1 victory on Thursday.

Last year’s runners-up made the perfect start with Lucas Ocampos scoring in the third minute but Eintracht hit back through Lucas Torro before Luka Jovic grabbed a late winner.

Eintracht, playing their first European campaign since the 2013-14 season after winning the German Cup, were joined at the top of the early Group H standings by Lazio who beat Apollon Limassol 2-1 with goals by Luis Alberto and Ciro Immobile.

Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea maintained their flying start to the season with a 1-0 victory at PAOK Salonika in their opening Group L fixture.

Brazil midfielder Willian’s early strike proved sufficient to seal the points, although Chelsea could have won by a wider margin had they been sharper in front of goal.

Premier League leaders Chelsea have now won their opening six games under Sarri who replaced Antonio Conte in July.

Sevilla, Europa League winners in 2014, 2015 and 2016, also opened with a victory, thrashing Standard Liege 5-1 in Group K with Ever Banega and Wissam Ben Yedder both scoring twice.

Former Champions League winner Steven Gerrard saw his Rangers side come from behind twice to draw 2-2 at Spanish club Villarreal in Group G.

Kyle Lafferty’s late goal earned the Scottish club a point.

Twenty four matches were scheduled for the opening night with Arsenal and AC Milan in action later. (Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)

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