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Antwerp upset Spurs to go top of Europa League group, Milan win again By Reuters


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© Reuters. Europa League – Group J – Royal Antwerp v Tottenham Hotspur

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ANTWERP, Belgium (Reuters) – Belgian league leaders Antwerp secured a shock 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur and AC Milan extended their unbeaten run to 23 games as they won 3-0 against Sparta Prague in the Europa League on Thursday.

Veteran striker Lior Refaelov’s first-half goal gave Antwerp their second win in Group J and put them top with six points, three ahead of Spurs and LASK of Austria.

Antwerp dominated the first half and went ahead just before the half-hour mark after a defensive lapse by Ben Davies allowed Dieumerci Mbokani to steal away the ball and set up the Israel international for a solid finish.

Four substitutions at the start of the second half reflected the irritation of Spurs manager Jose Mourinho, but Antwerp continued to look the more dangerous despite the changes.

Straight after the break it took a last-ditch defensive lunge by Tottenham’s Davinson Sanchez to deny the home side a second goal, before Mbokani had an easy chance at the back post in the 54th minute, but somehow managed to miss the target.

Simen Juklerod then forced Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to tip the ball over the crossbar as Antwerp kept creating chances, before missing a gilt-edged opportunity at the end of 72nd-minute breakaway.

He outstripped the visiting defence and had only the goalkeeper to beat but shot wildly over.

In between, Harry Kane came on for Gareth Bale but the Spurs skipper was also unable to ignite a comeback as Antwerp proved defensively solid to hang on for the win.

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In the other game in Group J, Austrian side LASK got the better of Ludogorets, beating the Bulgarians 4-3.

A penalty miss by Zlatan Ibrahimovic had little impact on AC Milan as they cruised to victory against Sparta Prague to go top of Group H with two wins from two games, while Scottish champions Celtic threw away a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw at Lille.

In Group L Hoffenheim made it two wins out of two with a 4-1 win over bottom side Gent, while El Fardou Ben Nabouhane scored twice as Red Star Belgrade went second with a 5-1 drubbing of Slovan Liberec.

Group G is turning into a two-horse race as Leicester City beat AEK Athens 2-1 away and SC Braga won by the same scoreline at Georgian side Zorya to leave both victors with six points from two games.

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