RC Lens forward Elye Wahi scored one goal and set up another as his side beat Arsenal 2-1 to top Champions League Group B as they celebrated the return of Europe’s premium club competition to their turf in flamboyant style on Tuesday.
The 20-year-old, who joined from Montpellier during the close season, fed Adrien Thomasson for the first-half equaliser after Gabriel Jesus’s opener, before netting the winner in the 69th minute to send the Bollaert-Delelis stadium wild.
The result put the Ligue 1 side on four points from two games, one ahead of Arsenal who suffered their first defeat in the group stage of the competition in 10 games.
Sevilla are second on two points, one ahead of PSV Eindhoven after the two teams drew 1-1 in the Netherlands.
“Beating Arsenal in the Champions League will surely stay in our memories,” Lens coach Franck Haise told a press conference.
“Elye is a young player, he only joined a month and a half ago, he’s making big strides.”
Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta, who had to cope with Bukayo Saka’s early injury substitution, said: “The difference between today and PSV (when his side won 4-0) was in the boxes.
“There were moments in the second half we could have been more efficient. We took a big lesson today.”
For Lens’s first Champions League home game in 21 years, the ground was sold out for the 30th time in a row and the 38,000 crowd were not disappointed as their team continued a return to top form after a mediocre start to the season.
Lens had scored at least once in each of their last 33 home games in all European competitions, starting the run against Arsenal in the group stage of the Champions League in 1998-99, and they extended the streak on Tuesday.
The hosts had the first clear chances early on as Kevin Danso’s attempt on the turn went just wide and Thomasson’s header was slightly off target. Arsenal, however, were far more clinical, punishing Lens for their first mistake.
Thomasson lost the ball in midfield to Saka, who sent Jesus through and the Brazilian thumped his shot past Brice Samba to put the London side ahead after 14 minutes.
Samba’s shot-stopping qualities were then put to the test by Kai Havertz but, just as Arsenal felt a sense of control, Thomasson made up for his earlier error in stunning fashion.
Wahi stretched to deflect Deiver Machado’s long pass into the path of Thomasson, who curled the ball beautifully into the far corner to equalise after 25 minutes.
Saka, who limped off the pitch in Arsenal’s 4-0 win at Bournemouth in the Premier League at the weekend, was replaced by Fabio Vieira 11 minutes from the interval.
“He tried a backheel and he felt something. It’s muscular he couldn’t carry on and we had to take him off,” said Arteta.
The excellent Samba was then forced into an early save in the second half to deny Leandro Trossard.
Lens had a big opportunity in the 64th, only for Salis Abdul Samed’s low shot to shave David Raya’s left-hand post.
Samba again showed his worth three minutes later, making a spectacular save with his foot to frustrate Takehiro Tomiyasu.
Wahi was equally efficient at the other end, stroking Przemyslaw Frankowski’s cross into the bottom corner to give Lens the advantage.
Arsenal had one last chance through Reiss Nelson but it was not to be their night.
Man United misery continues as Galatasaray win 3-2 at Old Trafford
Manchester United’s miserable season continued with a 3-2 home defeat by Galatasaray as Casemiro was sent off giving away a penalty which Mauro Icardi missed before scoring the winner to leave the hosts bottom of Champions League Group A on Tuesday.
Looking to put a fourth Premier League defeat of the season against Crystal Palace on Saturday to the backs of their minds, United flew out of the traps in the Manchester rain, racing into a 17th-minute lead through Denmark striker Rasmus Hojlund.
Their advantage lasted less than six minutes however as Wilfried Zaha, playing against his former club, scooped home the equaliser after poor defending from the hosts.
After the break, Hojlund brilliantly capitalised on a slip from Galatasaray defender Davinson Sanchez to clip United back in front in the 67th minute, only for Kerem Akturkoglu to level four minutes later and stun Old Trafford into silence.
A mistake from United goalkeeper Andre Onana forced Brazilian midfielder Casemiro to conceded a penalty, which saw him sent off after receiving a second yellow card.
Icardi let United off the hook as he drilled his spot kick wide but the Argentine picked himself up and slotted home a fine winner nine minutes from time to send Galatasaray up to second in the group on four points and leave United pointless.
Bayern Munich are top on six points from two games after a 2-1 win at FC Copenhagen, who are third with one point.
“Our opponents are maybe not very successful on the outside but they are a good team,” Galatasaray coach Okan Buruk said.
“We have beaten a huge opponent. It is a massive week for Turkish football and of course for us.”
United coach Erik ten Hag added: “The mental errors we make, you cannot allow them at this level. You get punished. This is difficult to control.
“We are all in this together. We were twice up and in control of the game. We expect more together.”
Back in the Champions League after a one-year absence, United were desperate for three points after losing to Bayern in their opening Group A encounter, having suffered their worst start to a domestic league campaign since 1989-90.
In European competition, they were also out to avoid losing a third match in a row, which they had not done since 2012-13.
Hojlund’s bullet header, from a pinpoint Marcus Rashford cross, could not have got the hosts off to a better start.
Former Crystal Palace winger Zaha, who only made four appearances for United between 2013-15, got revenge on the club who did not give him a proper chance, capitalising on hesitant defending from Diogo Dalot before finding the net.
After the break, Hojlund continued his European purple patch with a superb solo goal but, as was the case on three occasions during their opening group match in Munich, United conceded too quickly after scoring themselves as Akturkoglu struck.
At 2-2, the home supporters still believed their team could find the winner, but more woeful defending gifted the Turkish side all three points.
Icardi’s penalty was poor and gave Old Trafford a lift, but a simple forward header from defender Sanchez, in his own half, evaded everyone in red and the Argentine forward raced clear to score his first Champions League goal since 2019.
The final whistle was greeted by wild scenes of celebration at Galatasaray’s first Champions League away win in a decade.
The United supporters left the ground wondering when their suffering will end, having seen their side lose six of their 10 matches in all competitions this season after conceding a total of 18 goals – the most at this stage since 1966-67.
UEFA Champions League
Union Berlin (2) 2 Sporting Braga (1) 3
Salzburg (0) 0 Real Sociedad (2) 2
Napoli (1) 2 Real Madrid (2) 3
Internazionale (0) 1 Benfica (0) 0
Manchester United (1) 2 Galatasaray (1) 3
København (0) 1 Bayern München (0) 2
Lens (1) 2 Arsenal (1) 1
PSV (0) 2 Sevilla (0) 2
Wednesday, October 4 fixtures
Atlético Madrid v Feyenoord (19.45)
Antwerp v Shakhtar Donetsk (19.45)
RB Leipzig v Manchester City (22.00)
Crvena Zvezda v Young Boys (2200)
Celtic v Lazio (22.00)
Porto v Barcelona (22.00)
Borussia Dortmund v Milan (22.00)
Newcastle United v PSG (2200)