Category Archives: Europa League

Diego Costa denies dream send-off for Arsene Wenger

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Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger was denied a last chance to lift silverware after the Gunners were beaten by 2-1 on aggregate by Atletico Madrid in the Europa League semi-final.

With the score 1-1 from the first leg, former Chelsea striker Diego Costa returned to the Atletico side to haunt the Gunners again, scoring from a composed chip on the brink of half-time which ended their European hopes.

Antoine Griezmann, who scored Atletico’s away goal at the Emirates, slipped the crucial pass through to Costa after coming close with a powerful strike from a tight angle.

Arsenal were crestfallen going into the break but almost responded within minutes of the restart when Aaron Ramsey found himself through on goal. However, his touch let him down and the chance was wasted — as were a number of opportunities for the visitors throughout the second half.

It was a bad night made worse for Arsenal when captain Laurent Koscielny was carried off with an Achilles injury, which may rule the Frenchman out of this summer’s World Cup.

Two-time champions Atletico will now face Marseille in their third Europa League final in eight years in Lyon on 16 May, while defeat for Arsenal means they will miss out on Champions League football for the second straight season.

Wenger, who will leave the Gunners at the end of the season after 22 years in charge, has never won a European trophy with the club.

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.