Much to the relief of the Stamford Bridge faithful, Spain international striker Alvaro Morata ended a barren spell of goals on Thursday after Chelsea recorded its second straight 1-0 victory in the Europa League, against plucky Hungarian side MOL Vidi FC.
Meanwhile, substitute Patrick Cutrone netted twice in nine minutes to lift AC Milan to a 3-1 comeback triumph at home to Olympiakos, while teenage forward Emile Smith Rowe scored his first senior goal as Arsenal made the most of its longest-ever trip for a European game by winning 3-0 at Qarabag.
Like Chelsea, Milan and Arsenal, other teams including Salzburg, Bayer Leverkusen, Zurich, Sporting, Frankfurt, Krasnodar and Dinamo Zagreb also made it two victories from two group games.
So without further ado, here are the key takeaways from matchweek two of the Europa League.
MORATA ON TARGET
After wasting a barrage of chances during the course of the game, Alvaro Morata scored his first goal since August, and only his second of the season, when he prodded the ball in from close range following a clever flick from Brazilian winger Willian. By doing so, he earned Chelsea maximum points against Vidi.
Substitute Ross Barkley then almost made it 2-0 when his header hit the crossbar a few minutes later. Chelsea dominated but Vidi defended resolutelty and occasionally threatened on the counter, forcing two stunning saves from goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
MILAN FIGHT BACK
Boosted by a 4-1 victory at Sassuolo in Serie A over the weekend, and with forward Gonzalo Higuain returning from injury, the seven-time European Cup champion AC Milan looked strong in the opening stages against Olympiakos. The rejuvenated Italian side came close to scoring early on but the linesman ruled it for offside. Milan's persistent efforts paid dividends in the 14th minute with Miguel Angel Guerrero giving the visitors the lead against the run of play through a deflected header.
Milan created a host of chances but failed to convert before Ricardo Rodriguez crossed for Cutrone to head the equalizer with 20 minutes to go. Then stepped up the Argentine striker Gonazalo Higuain and the game was turned on its head. The strikers low shot put the Italian club 2-1 up. The goal proved to be a turning point as Milan doubled their advantage after Cutrone tapped in his second goal from close range in the 79th to take home the three points.
ARSENAL NINE RESTED
After the 2-0 rout of Watford over the weekend, Unai Emery opted resting nine front-line players in Baku. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who netted twice in the opening 4-2 victory over Vorskla, didn’t travel due to illness, while Aaron Ramsey stayed at home for family reasons.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos opened the scoring after four minutes when Nacho Monreal headed the ball on from a corner. The 18-year-old Smith Rowe and Matteo Guendouzi then struck in the second half to extend the Gunners winning run to 8 games in all competitions.
LAZIO PAIR SENT OFF
Lazio’s Dusan Basta and Joaquin Correa were sent off in their team’s 4-1 defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt. Basta received a second yellow card at the end of the first half, while Correa was dismissed for a challenge on Jonathan de Guzman in the 58th minute. Danny da Costa (2), Luka Jovic and Filip Kostic were on target for Eintracht, with Marco Parolo replying for Lazio. A late goal from Emilio Zelaya salvaged a 2-2 draw for Apollon Nicosia at home to Marseille after last year’s runner-up had led 2-0.
Sevilla lost 2-1 at Krasnodar in Group J. The most successful club in Europa League history went ahead after Charles Kabore’s own goal but the Russian side rallied thanks to Mauricio Pereyra and Tornike Okriashvili. Bayer Leverkusen came from a goal down to defeat AEK Larnaca 4-2 and is tied atop Group A on six points with Zurich, which edged Ludogorets 1-0.
In Group B, Salzburg came from a goal down against Celtic to win 3-1 and now leads the way on six points. The Scottish champion is tied in second place on three with Leipzig, which won 3-1 at Rosenborg. Dinamo Zagreb upset host Anderlecht 2-0 to dominate Group D with six points.
(With AP inputs)