Chelsea, Ein­tra­cht, Lazio ad­vance in Europa League

● Suso helps AC Mi­lan keep Betis at bay ● Hanni strike downs Ger­rard’s men in Group G thriller

Malta Independent - - Sport -

Olivier Giroud ended his drought by scor­ing the only goal as Chelsea won 1-0 at BATE Borisov on Thurs­day to clinch a place in the knock­out stage of the Europa League with two group games to spare.

Giroud had not scored for Chelsea for six months but he knows what it's like to net against BATE.

Last sea­son, he was on tar­get in both games against the Be­laru­sian cham­pion when he played for Arse­nal in Europe's sec­ond tier com­pe­ti­tion.

Else­where, Ein­tra­cht Frank­furt won 3-2 at Apol­lon Li­mas­sol to ad­vance while Lazio beat Mar­seille 2-1 to march into the next round and send last year's run­ner-up out. Ten-man Sevilla won 3-2 at Akhisar thanks to a late penalty, but An­der­lecht was elim­i­nated.

Here's a look at Thurs­day's ac­tion:

PER­FECT CHELSEA

Emer­son Palmieri crossed from the left in the 53rd minute and Giroud stooped to head in for Chelsea. The France striker was play­ing up front in­stead of Al­varo Morata, who was rested.

The win ex­tended the Lon­don club's un­beaten streak this sea­son to 17 games.

Chelsea tops Group L with a max­i­mum 12 points. Hun­gary's Vidi is sec­ond on six points af­ter a 1-0 vic­tory over PAOK.

SEVILLA SCORES HIGH

Ever Banega con­verted a penalty three min­utes from time against Akhisar as he grabbed the win­ner for Sevilla, the most suc­cess­ful club in Europa League his­tory.

Ear­lier, Nolito and Luis Muriel gave the Span­ish club a 2-0 lead, but Elvis Manu started a come­back for Akhisar in the 52nd, four min­utes be­fore Sergi Gomez was sent off. Onur Ayik then equal­ized for the Turk­ish side af­ter 78.

Sevilla is tied atop Group J on nine points with Rus­sia's Krasnodar, which beat Stan­dard Liege 2-1.

OTHER GROUPS

In Group H, Luka Jovic, Se­bastien Haller and Mi­jat Ga­ci­novic scored as Ein­tra­cht made it four wins from four Europa League games. Emilio Ze­laya net­ted twice for Apol­lon, the sec­ond time from the penalty spot.

Marco Parolo headed the open­ing goal for Lazio in firsthalf in­jury time and Joaquin Cor­rea beat goal­keeper Yo­hann Pele 10 min­utes into the sec­ond be­fore Mar­seille got one back through Flo­rian Thau­vin.

Ein­tra­cht has 12 points fol­lowed by Lazio on nine. Mar­seille and Apol­lon, both on one point, are out.

In Group G, Spar­tak Moscow beat Rangers 4-3 in a thriller af­ter the Scot­tish club had led 32. Vil­lar­real leads the sec­tion with six points af­ter draw­ing 00 at Rapid Vi­enna. Rangers and Spar­tak are one point be­hind.

An­der­lecht's cam­paign came to an end af­ter a 2-0 de­feat at Group D ri­val Fener­bahce.

SUSO KEEPS BETIS AT BAY

Suso’s free kick gave Mi­lan a valu­able draw away to Real Betis, but Ma­teo Musac­chio and Hakan Cal­hanoglu went off in­jured and the Europa League group has tight­ened up.

Olympia­cos crushed Dude­lange 5-1, so are now on seven points along­side Mi­lan, while Betis are on top with eight.

Real Betis Balom­pie’ had al­ready won 2-1 at San Siro, putting them top of the Europa League group, so this was a crunch match for the Rossoneri. Gen­naro Gat­tuso changed to 35-2 amid an in­jury cri­sis, miss­ing Gon­zalo Higuain, Lucas Biglia, Jack Bon­aven­tura, Mat­tia Cal­dara and Da­vide Cal­abria, while Alessio Ro­mag­noli was rested ahead of the Serie A show­down with Ju­ven­tus on Sun­day.

Betis re­lied on vet­eran exFiorentina for­ward Joaquin and Roma-owned Tonny Sanabria.

It took 12 min­utes for Betis to break through.

Diego Lax­alt’s mis­placed ball sparked a long pass­ing move, Joaquin spread­ing it down the left for Ju­nior Firpo, whose pull­back was fired in first time by Gio­vani Lo Celso from nine yards.

They nearly made it 2-0 soon af­ter, as the off­side trap failed and the roll across was just in front of Sanabria, al­low­ing Zapata to in­ter­cept with his heel.

A sim­i­lar move down the left was rolled across for Sanabria to prod just wide from six yards, while Suso fired a free kick into the wall from a promis­ing po­si­tion and Hakan Cal­hanoglu’s an­gled drive tested Pau Lopez.

On the stroke of half-time, Pa­trick Cutrone couldn’t keep his header down from a volleyed Fabio Borini cross.

It was only 1-0, but Betis had 66 per cent pos­ses­sion and more than dou­ble the num­ber of Mi­lan passes in the first half.

Suso’s cross from the by-line was put out for a cor­ner by Mandi, then the winger’s stun­ning left-foot curler was ar­row­ing its way into the far top cor­ner un­til Pau Lopez flew to fin­ger­tip it over.

Suso was warm­ing up to the game and he equalised when his left-foot free kick from the edge of the box floated past ev­ery­one, only skim­ming the head of Tiemoue Bakayoko to sur­prise Pau Lopez at the far post.

It was only Mi­lan’s sec­ond goal from a di­rect free kick in all com­pe­ti­tion this sea­son and the other was also scored by Suso.

Borini’s pow­er­ful strike off the out­side of the right boot was too close to the goal­keeper and Pepe Reina got away with a hor­ri­ble back-pass.

There were very wor­ry­ing scenes when Musac­chio col­lided with team­mate Franck Kessie and the Ar­gen­tine came off far worse, ap­pear­ing to briefly lose con­scious­ness.

He was stretchered off in a neck brace.

Borini had the chance to put Mi­lan in front, but volleyed over, while Ju­nior Firpo couldn’t keep his fin­ish on tar­get from a tight an­gle.

Reina rushed off his line and made him­self big for a de­ci­sive block as Cris­tian Tello had gone clear, then the fol­low-up was charged down by Borini.

How­ever, Mi­lan lost Hakan Cal­hanoglu to an an­kle in­jury and he hob­bled off with help from the med­i­cal staff.

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