English in action: 27th November

Midweek Europa League and Indian Super League action saw three players involved in matches worldwide yesterday.

France: Guingamp 1-2 Fiorentina (UEFA Europa League)

Richards in action earlier in the season

Italian side Fiorentina travelled to French strugglers Guingamp for a Europa League group K match. Earlier in the season, the pair faced each other in the reverse fixture. That match ended with a comfortable 3-0 win for the Italians.

Hoping for a repeat performance was English defender Micah Richards, who started at the back for Fiorentina. It was the internationals seventh appearance of the season but his fourth in Europe, having made only three appearance all year in Serie A.

Another resounding victory was on the cards for La Viola as just 12 minutes into the game, goals from Marko Marin and Khouma Babacar put the visitors two goals up.

However, just before half time, the hosts were given a lifeline. Jose Basanta was sent off for a challenge in the box, awarding Guingamp a penalty, which they duly converted.

The sending off meant Richards and his defensive teammates would have to work hard in the second half to hold onto their lead. Fortunately for the dismissed Basanta, they did exactly that, holding onto their 2-1 lead and securing qualification into the knockout stages of the Europa League.

Russia: Dinamo Moscow 2-1 Panathinaikos (UEFA Europa League)
Elsewhere, in group E of the Europa League, Panathinkaikos made the trip from Greece to Russia’s capital, Moscow to take on Dinamo.

On the bench for Panathinaikos was former Barnsley goalkeeper Luke Steele. Currently in his first season in Greece, the 30-year-old has been in and out of his new side’s starting line-ups. Yesterday’s match was the eighth time he had started a game on the bench but he has also made eight starts this year.

The Russian side were considered strong favourites before the game, having won their first four group games – as opposed to the single point that the Greek side had picked up.

However, after just 14 minutes, Marcus Berg gave the visitors a shock lead.

Order was soon restored in the second half though, as two goals in the opening 16 minutes of the half secured a fifth consecutive win in Europe for Dinamo, consigning Panathinaikos to the bottom of the group with a game left.

India: NorthEast United 3-0 Chennaiyin (Indian Super League)
This was supposed to a routine victory for Chennaiyin. They were top of the league and the travelled to bottom of the table NorthEast United expecting a win. Except the hosts didn’t read the script, and after just 23 minutes, they had stunned their visitors, and fans, by taking a 3-0 lead.

NorthEast managed to hold onto their 3-0 lead for the rest of the game, even though they had former Spain international Joan Capdevila sent off in the second half.

Watching the extraordinary events unfold on the pitch from the bench was English forward James Keene. The former Portsmouth man was not required as his side cruised to a surprise victory.

The result moves NorthEast up to 5th in the table. Chennaiyin remain at the top.

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