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Kudus Double Fires West Ham Into Europa League Quarters, Milan, Benfica Progress

Seven-time European champions AC Milan cruised into the last eight with a 3-1 win over 10-man Slavia Prague in the Czech capital.


West Ham United’s Ghanaian midfielder #14 Mohammed Kudus (R) celebrates scoring the team’s fifth goal with West Ham United’s French defender #04 Kurt Zouma during the UEFA Europa League round of 16 second leg football match between West Ham United and SC Freiburg at The London Stadium, in east London on March 14, 2024. (Photo by Ian Kington / AFP)

 

Mohammed Kudus scored two stunning goals as West Ham thrashed Freiburg 5-0 to progress to the quarter-finals of the Europa League on Thursday, where they will be joined by AC Milan and Benfica.

The Hammers trailed 1-0 from the first leg but beat Freiburg twice in the group stages and quickly went about making amends for defeat in Germany a week ago.

Lucas Paqueta turned home a corner at the far post before Jarrod Bowen blasted home to turn the tie around before half-time.

Aaron Cresswell then arrowed a shot into the far corner and Kudus then took centre stage to round off a fine night for the Europa Conference League holders as their European adventures under David Moyes go on.

The Ghanaian ran from deep inside his own half through the heart of the Freiburg midfield and defence to slot in the fourth.

And Kudus then smashed home from the edge of the box.

The result was also a big boost for England’s hopes of having five places in next season’s Champions League by finishing as one of the top-two ranked nations based on performance by clubs in European competitions this season.

Benfica ended Rangers’ hopes of another deep run in the Europa League with a 1-0 win in the lashing Glasgow rain to progress 3-2 on aggregate.

Benfica’s Portuguese midfielder #27 Rafa Silva (C) is mobbed by teammates after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Europa League round of 16 second leg football match between Glasgow Rangers and Benfica at the Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow on March 14, 2024. (Photo by Andy BUCHANAN / POOL / AFP)

In a game of few chances, Rafa Silva produced a composed finish from Angel Di Maria’s through ball 24 minutes from time and the goal stood after initially being ruled offside.

Seven-time European champions AC Milan cruised into the last eight with a 3-1 win over 10-man Slavia Prague in the Czech capital.

Already trailing 4-2 from the first leg, Slavia’s uphill task became an impossible one once Tomas Holes was shown a straight red card after a VAR review for a stamp on Davide Calabria.

Three quick goals from Christian Pulisic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Rafael Leao killed off the tie before half-time.

Villarreal ended Jean-Louis Gasset’s unbeaten run as Marseille boss but a 3-1 victory in Spain was too little, too late for the Spaniards as they went out 5-3 on aggregate.

Goals from Etienne Capoue, Alexander Sorloth and Yerson Mosquera set up a grandstand finish, but Jonathan Clauss struck in stoppage-time to ensure Marseille are in the draw for the last eight.

Liverpool should also book their place in the quarter-finals later when they host Sparta Prague at Anfield, leading 5-1 from the first leg.