Thursday, 15 February 2018

Europa League: Arsenal Win, Batshuayi Saves Dortmund

Arsenal began the Europa League knockout stage with a convincing 3-0 win over Ostersunds in Sweden on Thursday night.
The Gunners were off and running in the round of 32 after just 16 minutes through defender Nacho Monreal, who pounced on a spilled save attempt by Ostersunds goalkeeper Aly Keita and slotted into the gaping net from close range.

Arsenal went 2-0 up 11 minutes later when a fizzed-in cross from Henrikh Mkhitaryan deflected off the back-side of defender Sotiris Papagiannopoulos and beat a helpless Keita, who was left no time to react in the Ostersunds goal.

Mesut Ozil then wasted little time completing the scoring after the break -- the Germany playmaker receiving a one-two from Mkhitaryan before squeezing his low shot past Keita from inside the box in the 58th minute.

David Ospina saved a Tom Pettersson penalty in second-half stoppage time to preserve Arsenal's clean sheet heading into the return leg next week.

Michy Batshuayi scored twice, including a stoppage-time winner, to rally Borussia Dortmund to a 3-2 win over Atalanta.

Andre Schurrle put Dortmund ahead on the half-hour mark only for Josip Ilicic to net twice for the visitors in a five-minute span early in the second half.

But Chelsea loanee Batshuayi continued his hot start for his new club, twice linking up with Mario Gotze to bring his tally to five goals in three games and give Dortmund the advantage ahead of the second leg in Italy.

Italian leaders Napoli suffered a surprise 3-1 home defeat at the hands of RB Leipzig as Timo Werner scored twice.

Things seemed to be going the hosts' why when Adam Ounas opened the scoring seven minutes after half-time, but Werner slotted home to equalise nine minutes later.

Bruma then put the German club ahead on 74 minutes after beating an offside trap, and with Napoli pushing for an equaliser, it was the visitors who found the final goal on a counter-attack, Werner finishing at the near post.

AC Milan eased to a 3-0 victory away to Ludogorets Razgrad with goals from Patrick Cutrone, Ricardo Rodriguez and Fabio Borini.

Curtone headed home after a corner to put Milan ahead just before half-time, then drew a penalty that Rodriguez converted in the 63rd minute, before Borini volleyed home a third in stoppage time.

Atletico Madrid took a commanding advantage in their first leg with a 4-1 victory at FC Copenhagen.

The hosts took a shocking lead after 15 minutes when Viktor Fischer back-heeled home from close range after a powerful Peter Ankersen effort toward goal.

But Diego Simeone's side stormed back with unanswered goals from Saul Niguez, Kevin Gameiro, Antoine Griezmann and Vitolo to all but seal their place in the last-16 ahead of next week's return match in Madrid.

Manuel Fernandes scored a hat trick to go one better than Mario Balotelli's brace as Lokomotiv Moscow fought back from two down to win 3-2 at Nice.

The game was barely three minutes old when Allan Saint-Maximin cut the ball back for Balotelli to score, before the Italian striker added a penalty after a Nemanja Pejcinovic hand ball.

Nice's Malang Sarr conceded a penalty before half-time that Fernandes converted, and the visitors were then level and a man up when Racine Coly was sent off for fouling Ari as the last defender, and Fernandes scored from the resulting free kick.

Fernandes then slotted home again in the 77th minute to complete both the comeback and his second treble in the competition this campaign.

Callum McGregor's fine finish allowed Celtic to secure a 1-0 win over Zenit St Petersburg.

With the game still level in the 78th minute, Moussa Dembele skipped past a defender and got the ball to Charly Musonda, who did well to loft the ball to the back post, where McGregor brought the ball down off his chest and scored.

Marseille took a large advantage from their home leg as they beat Braga 3-0, thanks to a Valere Germain brace and a strike from Florian Thauvin.

Germain redirected a pair of passes in the box in the fourth and 69th minutes, before Thauvin scored OM's third after a fine sequence of five passes back and forth with Maxime Lopez.

Athletic Bilbao put one foot into the round of 16 after a 3-1 victory away to Spartak Moscow.

Aritz Aduriz recorded a first-half brace and Mikel Rico added a third just before the break for the Spanish side, and though Luiz Adriano pulled one back through Luiz Adriano, Athletic secured the win.

Salzburg managed a 2-2 draw at Real Sociedad when Takumi Minamino scored a crucial away goal in the 94th minute.

The visitors had taken the lead through Mikel Oyarzabal though Alvaro Odriozola then equalised, and Adnan Januzaj appeared to give La Real the winner 10 minutes from time before Minamino's late strike.

In the day's early game, Sporting Lisbon erupted with three goals in the first 12 minutes of the second half to rally past Astana 3-1.

Bruno Fernandes, Gelson Martins and Seydou Doumbia all found the net in an eight-minute span, and the hosts' hopes of a comeback ended six minutes later as Yuri Logvinenko received a second booking.

Viktoria Plzen earned a 1-1 draw at Partizan Belgrade after Radim Reznik scored in the 81st minute, while AEK Athens salvaged a draw by the same scoreline at home against Dynamo Kiev thanks to Astrit Ajdarevic's 80th-minute equaliser.

The round of 32 began on Tuesday when CSKA Moscow secured a goalless draw at Red Star Belgrade.

ESPN reports

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