R. Standard de Liège 2-0 HNK Rijeka
Two late goals settled this Group G opener in Belgium after Standard had struggled for long periods against their Croatian guests.
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• Laurent Ciman breaks deadlock on 74 minutes for Standard
• Vinícius Araújo registers first goal for the Belgian club late on
• Les Rouches claim first home win in Europe in six attempts
• Rijeka lose first European away fixture this season
• Next games: Feyenoord v Standard, Rijeka v Sevilla FC (2 October)
New signing Vinícius Araújo scored his first goal for R. Standard de Liège as the hosts made a winning start in UEFA Europa League Group G against HNK Rijeka.
Standard had not won in their last five European home games and for long periods it looked as if their frustration would continue, though relief finally came 16 minutes from time when Laurent Ciman guided a header into the bottom corner from Paul-José Mpoku's free-kick. Araújo then made sure of the result on 87 minutes, sending an inch-perfect header past Ivan Vargić.
The Belgian side had started strongly as well, with Mehdi Carcela-González just failing to convert a chance in the opening seconds. The visitors did not take long to respond, however, and both Marin Leovac and Andrej Kramarić tested Japanese goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima with five minutes gone.
Rijeka came into the game having won all three of their European away fixtures this season – scoring ten goals in the process – but they spurned two more chances in the space of two minutes after the break. Vedran Jugović blazed over just after the hour before Ivan Krstanović found himself with only the goalkeeper to beat following a mix-up in the Standard defence. His heavy touch was eagerly pounced on by Kawashima.
The Croatian hopefuls were soon left ruing those misses as their rivals delivered two late blows to get their campaign up and running with all three points.