Loftus-Cheek double puts Milan in control v Stade Rennais

MILAN: Ruben Loftus-Cheek scored two headers and Rafael Leao added a third as AC Milan secured an emphatic 3-0 home win over French side Stade Rennais in the first leg of their Europa League playoff tie on Thursday.

Milan, who dropped into the Europa League after finishing third in their Champions League group, might have posted an even more convincing victory had it not been for desperate defending but will still take a handy lead into next week's second leg.

There was surprise away win for Azerbaijan's Qarabag as they romped to a 4-2 triumph at Sporting Braga in Portugal to give themselves every chance of reaching the round of 16.

In the other late kickoff games, Argentine forward Angel di Maria converted two penalties as Benfica edged French strugglers Toulouse 2-1 and Racing Lens' home clash with Germany's Freiburg ended goalless. --REUTERS

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