Arse­nal, Chelsea reach Europa League knock­outs

2018 fi­nal­ists Mar­seille’s cam­paign ends af­ter 2-1 de­feat to Italy’s Lazio

Gulf Times Sport - - FRONT PAGE -

Arse­nal and Chelsea were among seven teams to reach the Europa League knock­out stage on Thurs­day, while last year’s run­ners-up Olympique de Mar­seille were elim­i­nated at the group phase.

The two Pre­mier League teams were joined by Ein­tra­cht Frank­furt, Lazio, Bayer Lev­erkusen, FC Zurich and Di­namo Zagreb in the last 32 with two games still to play be­fore the draw for the next round in Nyon, Switzer­land on Dec 17.

Arse­nal qual­i­fied with a 0-0 draw against Sport­ing at The Emi­rates, although striker Danny Wel­beck was car­ried off on a stretcher in the first half with a se­ri­ous an­kle in­jury, while Chelsea won 1-0 at BATE Borisov in one of the early kick­offs.

A heav­ily changed Arse­nal side were un­able to break down a dogged Sport­ing team, who were re­duced to 10 men in the 88th minute when de­fender Jeremy Mathieu fouled striker Pierre-Em­er­ick Aubameyang as he raced to­wards the area.

How­ever, the point was enough to guar­an­tee the north Lon­don side a place in the last 32 atop Group E on 10 points, with Sport­ing be­hind them on seven. Vorskla Poltava lost 1-0 to FK Qarabag, with both teams on three points.

Arse­nal for­ward Wel­beck was taken off on a stretcher and given oxy­gen in the 25th minute af­ter land­ing awk­wardly when jump­ing for a header only hours af­ter be­ing named in the Eng­land squad for their next in­ter­na­tion­als.

Ear­lier, Chelsea’s France striker Giroud got his first goal this sea­son in the sec­ond half to se­cure a win at BATE, mean­ing Mau­r­izio Sarri’s side have qual­i­fied from Group L.

“I think the first tar­get in this com­pe­ti­tion was to qual­ify and now the sec­ond tar­get is to win our group so I think we need one more point,” the Ital­ian coach said.

“It’s very im­por­tant be­cause then we can talk again about this com­pe­ti­tion in Fe­bru­ary, when we will have an­other tar­get.” Chelsea have yet to lose un­der Sarri so far this sea­son.

Mar­seille were dumped out when they lost 2-1 at Lazio in Group H. Goals from Marco Parolo and Joaquin Cor­rea were enough to ex­tend a mis­er­able run for the French side, who have now lost four games in a row in all com­pe­ti­tions.

Lazio, mean­while, went through along with Ein­tra­cht who elim­i­nated Apol­lon Li­mas­sol with a 3-2 vic­tory in the other game in the sec­tion.

Lev­erkusen joined both teams in the next stage af­ter beat­ing FC Zurich 1-0 at home in Group A but thanks to Lu­do­gorets 0-0 draw with AEK Lar­naca the Swiss side also pro­gressed.

Di­namo Zagreb beat Spar­tak Tr­nava 3-1 to qual­ify from Group D while An­der­lecht, UEFA Cup win­ners in 1983, were elim­i­nated af­ter their 2-0 de­feat by Fener­bahce in the same group.

Sevilla, the most suc­cess­ful team in the his­tory of the com­pe­ti­tion with five ti­tles, went down to 10-men at Akhis­ar­spor but came away with a 3-2 win in Group J thanks to a late Ever Banega penalty that ended the Turk­ish side’s qual­i­fy­ing hopes.

There was a goalfest in Rus­sia as Spar­tak Moscow came from 3-2 be­hind to lead Rangers 4-3 in two min­utes be­fore the hour mark with the home side’s even­tual win tak­ing them to sec­ond place and level with their op­po­nents on five points in Group G.

Rangers’ do­mes­tic ri­vals Celtic kept their hopes alive with a 2-1 win over RB Leipzig in Group B, while AC Mi­lan and Real Betis took a step to­wards qual­i­fy­ing with a 1-1 draw in Group F.

Sport­ing Lis­bon’s Por­tuguese for­ward Car­los Mane (L) vies with Arse­nal’s French mid­fielder Mat­teo Guen­douzi dur­ing their UEFA Europa League group stage match in Lon­don on Thurs­day.

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