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Europa: Boniface scores as Lookman, Dessers win with Atalanta, Rangers, AEK stun Brighton


VICTOR Boniface was on target again for Bayer Leverkusen tonight as they swept aside Sweden’s BK Haecken 4-0 in their UEFA Europa League clash at the BayArena.

The Super Eagles striker set up Bayer Leverkusen’s opening goal for Florian Wirtz before making it 3-0 himself in the second half as the German side climbed to the top of Group H.

Boniface, who made his senior Nigeria debut this month in the 6-0 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying win over Sao Tome and Principe, has now registered six goals and three assists in his first six games since joining Leverkusen from Union St Gilloise for around €20 million in July.

In other Europa League fixtures tonight, Boniface’s Super Eagles teammates were also on winning sides.

Ademola Lookman was on from the start and played for 76 minutes as Atalanta defeated Polish side Raków Częstochowa 2-0 in Italy.

Charles De Ketelaere and Ederson struck in the second half to hand the Serie A club the victory that took them to the top of the Group D standings, ahead of Sporting Lisbon on goal difference.

In Glasgow, Nigeria striker Cyriel Dessers was a late substitute as Rangers secured a hard-fought 1-0 win over Real Betis.

Abdallah Sima scored the only goal of the game in the 68th minute, 20 minutes before Dessers was introduced.

The biggest shock of the night was in England where high-flying Premier League side Brighton, on their European debut, were beaten 3-2 by AEK Athens at the Amex Stadium.

The visitors from Greece took the lead twice but were pegged by each time by Joao Pedro penalties before they struck the winner with four minutes of regulation time left.

Despite lengthy stoppage time — 13 minutes — the Greeks held on to take all three points and are top of the Group B table.

In the group’s other fixture tonight, former Arsenal and Chelsea striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice for Marseille in their 3-3 draw at Ajax.

There were victories for last season’s runners-up AS Roma, who defeated FC Sheriff 2-1 in Moldova with Romelu Lukaku netting, and Conference League champions West Ham who came from behind to beat Serbia’s TSC Backa Topola 3-1 in London.

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