Substitute Ikechukwu Uche struck a second-half equaliser as Villarreal grabbed a point in their opening UEFA Europa League Group A clash with Borussia Monchengladbach in Germany. Patrick Hermann had hit his first European goal in the 21st minute to give the home side the advantage but Nigerian Uche fired home low after the break a matter of seconds after replacing Luciano Vietto. Buoyed by a solid start to the new Bundesliga season with five points from their first three games, the home side started well and deserved their opener when the ball broke free on the edge of the box and Hermann rifled it past Sergio Asenjo in the visitors' goal. Asenjo produced a magnificent save to deny Branimir Hrgota a second goal for Monchengladbach as the rain began to pour down at the Borussia-Park Stadium. And the hosts almost paid for their inability to put their opponents out of sight as the Spaniards grew in confidence and Denis Cheryshev should have done better with two strong chances. First the Russian failed to find a finish after being sent clear by Cani, then he blazed over the bar from a pass by Moi Gomez. But Uche's introduction changed everything on the night as he leapt onto an inch-perfect pass by Mani Trigueros to slide the equaliser past home keeper Yann Sommer. Uche's influence on proceedings was effective but brief – he was injured in the course of scoring and had to be replaced by Jonathan dos Santos after less than five minutes on the pitch. Despite the hosts' inability to hang on for an opening win they will have been reasonably content with a draw in a group which also includes FC Zurich and Cypriot side Apollon.
Football EUROPA LEAGUE