Category Archives: Europa League

Europa League: Arsenal holds out at Moscow with second-half brace

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Arsenal reached the semi-finals of the Europa League with a 6-3 aggregate win over CSKA Moscow, after a 2-2 draw in Russia where they weathered a fightback from the Russian team.

Arsene Wenger saw his team trail 2-0 and being put under pressure, before Danny Welbeck and Aaron Ramsey scored one goal apiece in the second-half to stave off any danger.

The hosts led through Fedor Chalov and Kirill Nababkin, and almost drew level on aggregate and leading on away goals but Gunners keeper Petr Cech saved Aleksandr Golovin’s free-kick while Sergei Ignashevich shot narrowly wide.

Arsenal did not have an effort on target in the first 70 minutes, and Laurent Koscielny wasted a glorious chance before Welbeck struck.

Aaron Ramsey’s goal in injury time made certain of their progress into the last four alongside Atletico Madrid, Marseille and RB Salzburg.

CSKA Moscow would have been dreaming of an upset when Chalov reacted before Shkodran Mustafi to score the opener after Cech saved Nabakin’s header. Cech also made a mistake when he could only parry Golovin’s strike from 25 yards and Nababkin reacted first to double the hosts’ lead.

“Maybe we were surprised by the intensity at the start,” Wenger said. “They scored the second, had a chance for the third. It was a good response from us after the break.”

“You could see in Europe a lot of turnovers. We need to be focused. Let’s prepare well for the next round and see who we get.”

Europa League round up: Arsenal favourites to reach next round

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An inspired first-half performance saw Arsenal take control of their Europa League quarter-final encounter against CSKA Moscow with a 4-1 home win in the first leg, shaping them as favourites to reach the semi-finals.

Alexandre Lacazette and Aaron Ramsey scored two goals each as the Gunners scored four goals in 26 minutes before half-time, with the latter opening the scoreboard with a side-footed finish.

Although Aleksandr Golovin equalized with a sublime free-kick, French striker Lacazette, who has recovered from a knee injury, made it 2-1 with a penalty after Mesut Ozil was fouled by Georgi Schennikov.

Welsh international Ramsey then produced a brilliant third with an instinctive volleyed flick, with Lacazette added a fourth after being picked out by the outstanding Ozil.

Over at Spain, Koke’s goal after 23 seconds set Europa League favourites Atletico Madrid on their way to a quarter-final win over Sporting Lisbon.

Diego Costa took advantage of a defensive mistake seconds into the game to set Koke up, while Antoine Griezmann added a second after taking advantage of another Sporting error five minutes before half-time.

Atletico, the 2010 and 2012 Europa League winners, have now won their past nine matches at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Serie A giants Lazio also took a big step towards the semi-finals with a dramatic 4-2 win over Red Bull Salzburg, whose 19-game unbeaten run in Europe — and 36-match streak without losing in all competitions — came to an end.

The hosts led after eight minutes through captain Senad Lulic, and although Valon Berisha equalised with a penalty, Marco Parolo backheeled the Serie A side back into the lead just before Takumi Minamino levelled again seconds after coming off the bench.

But Felipe Anderson and Ciro Immobile, who has now scored 37 goals this season, put Lazio in control of the tie with two goals.

Over in Germany, Timo Werner scored the only goal as RB Leipzig beat Marseille 1-0 in a close first leg — leaving them in a precarious position as they travel to France for the second leg next week.

Red Bull Salzburg digs in to send Borussia Dortmund out of Europa League

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German giants Borussia Dortmund were eliminated from the Europa League after a goalless draw in Austria saw Red Bull Salzburg won their quarter-final tie by 2-1 on aggregate.

The visitors was even on the defensive, with keeper Roman Burki forced to make an excellent save to deny Salzburg’s Duje Caleta-Car in the first half and further chances fell to Hwang Hee-chan.

Although Dortmund themselves came close through Michy Batshuayi and Marcel Schmelzer, they needed to score at least twice to go through and that never came to pass.

Since Salzburg became runners-up in the old UEFA Cup in 1993-94, no other Austrian side has reached the last eight of the Europa League before.

Meanwhile, Dortmund’s Bundesliga rivals RB Leipzig knocked out Roberto Mancini’s Zenit St Petersburg squad with a 1-1 draw in Russia and progressed by 3-2 on aggregate.

Like Salzburg, Leipzig had won the first leg by 2-1 before leading ahead through Jean-Kevin Augustin, although Zenit leveled through Sebastian Driussi’s back-post volley. Yet the German club would advance to Friday’s draw despite Timo Werner having an 81st-minute penalty saved.

Premier League club Arsenal FC picked up a 3-1 victory over AC Milan at Emirates Stadium thanks to two goals from Danny Welbeck to go through 5-1 on aggregate.

However, the Gunners were given a scare when Hakan Calhanoglu fired in from long range but Welbeck converted a penalty he had won controversially to level the score shortly afterwards.

Milan keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma’s error later on allowed Granit Xhaka to find the net in the second half before Welbeck added a third.

Arsenal ends losing streak with victory over Milan in Europa League

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Arsenal put an end to their unwanted 4-game losing streak with a polished 2-0 victory over AC Milan in the first-leg of their last-16 encounter.

Arsene Wenger’s squad were leading after just 15 minutes through Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s first goal for the club, with the Armenian cutting in from the left to fire in with the aid of a deflection off Milan skipper Leonardo Bonucci.

Aaron Ramsey then deservedly doubled their lead before half-time as the Welshman collected Mesut Ozil’s inch-perfect pass through the centre of Milan’s defence to round keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and tap in.

While Gennaro Gattuso’s Milan tried to raise their tempo after the break — with Giacomo Bonaventura spooning an effort over the bar — Arsenal were largely unbothered as they limited the home side to half chances with a solid defensive effort.

With clear a two-away goal advantage, Arsenal will be heavy favourites ahead of the second leg that will be played at the Emirates next week.

This also comes as a brief respite for Wenger, who saw 88% of the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust’s (AST) 1,000 members voting this week in favour of the 68-year-old Frenchman’s contract being terminated at the end of the season.

“Overall it is important to win, but it is not qualification. We have to finish the job at home. I am happy with the spirit and response we gave,” he said. “We were not in a position to take risks, but we could not be too cautious as you lose fluidity. We defended with resilience until the end.”

“We made too many mistakes,” said Gattuso. “We never played as a compact team and they deserved the win. Every time they attacked, they could have scored. Playing at this level is something new for our lads but there were too many mistakes.”

“In football, you never say never. We’ll go to London to try and win, we’re not going on an excursion.”