Europa League: Arsenal Stagger Into Quarters As Tottenham Crash Out

Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (2R) and Arsenal’s French-born Ivorian midfielder Nicolas Pepe (R) react at the final whistle during the UEFA Europa League Round of 16, 2nd leg football match between Arsenal and Olympiakos at the Emirates Stadium in London on March 18, 2021. DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

 

Arsenal on Thursday made it to the quarter-final of the Europa League despite losing 1-0 to Greek side Olympiacos in a second leg Round of 16 game. 

The Gunners had one week ago defeated them 1-3, giving Mikel Arteta’s side a 3-2 aggregate win. Today’s result means the North London side took a step closer to winning the competition they reached the final in 2019.

 

Jose Mourinho’s Spurs held a two-goal lead following last week’s first leg in London, but Orsic netted twice in the final half-hour as Croatian champions Dinamo levelled the tie at home.

Dinamo Zagreb’s players celebrate after scoring a goal during the UEFA Europa League football match between Dinamo Zagreb and Tottenham Hotspur at the Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb, on March 18, 2021. Damir SENCAR / AFP

 

Dinamo coach Zoran Mamic resigned this week after being sentenced to four years and eight months in jail for multi-million euro fraud involving Luka Modric’s move to Tottenham and other transfers.

However, Orsic curled in a marvellous shot from the corner of the area to give Dinamo the lead on 62 minutes and then capped off a fine team move with a thumping finish to send the match to extra time.

Orsic completed his treble in style as he ran past three players and hammered a low drive beyond Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris from the edge of area on 106 minutes.

Harry Kane nearly snatched a late goal that would have put Spurs through on away goals but his effort was clawed out by Dinamo goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic.

READ ALSO: Paris Saint-Germain Beat Lille To Reach French Cup Quarters

Spanish side Granada extended their debut run in European competition, going through 3-2 overall, despite a 2-1 loss to Norway’s Molde in Budapest.

Roma also progressed as a 2-1 victory courtesy of two goals from Real Madrid loanee Borja Mayoral against Shakhtar Donetsk in Kiev wrapped up a 5-1 win on aggregate.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is set to face his former club as AC Milan host Manchester United at the San Siro following a 1-1 draw in England last week.

File photo: AC Milan’s Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic gestures during the UEFA Europa League first round day three Group H football match between AC Milan and Lille (LOSC) at the Meazza stadium in Milan on November 5, 2020. MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP

 

Rangers meanwhile are at home to Slavia Prague. Steven Gerrard’s side have already been crowned Scottish champions and drew 1-1 in the Czech Republic last week.

Four-time European champions Ajax are virtually assured of passage into the next round as they are 3-0 ahead in their tie with Young Boys, while Villarreal hold a two-goal lead over Dynamo Kiev.

 

Europa League: Liverpool Will Take This Opportunity – Jurgen Klopp

LiverpoolLiverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp, has promised that Liverpool will give everything to lift the Europa League trophy.

This came after the Reds booked a place in the final with a 3-0 victory over Villarreal at Anfield.

A Bruno Soriano own goal in the seventh minute was followed by Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana strikes in the second half, which overturned a deficit from the first leg in Spain.

The Reds therefore progress to a meeting with Sevilla in Basel on May 18 – and deservedly so according to Klopp, who was delighted with his team’s display.

During his post-match press conference, Kloop was full of praises for his players admitting excitedly that their performance surpassed his expectations on the night.

“The problem is I’m not a native speaker so I don’t have the right words for this performance. It was nice to watch and nice to be part of it; the whole performance, not from the first, second (but) from 6.45pm when we drove through the road again. It’s nice.

“The first half-hour… what power! The will was obvious, I would say. Then for 15 minutes we lost a little bit of patience, that’s normal. We tried (to be) a little bit different and it made not too much sense. In the second half, (it was) back to the plan – still very emotional plus very smart, wonderful goals, well deserved.”

Kloop also had good words for striker Daniel Sturridge, who he admitted had a great game but mainly because he had a great team to play with, maintaining that the entire team was outstanding.

The 2016 Europa League final is Liverpool’s first European final since 2007 and Kloop considers this a great feat considering how the season has been for the club and particularly how difficult the Europa League started for them.

“When I came here, the tournament didn’t sound too nice for the people – three draws or something like that. It was a difficult group I thought and we came through with a nice game in Russia. That was good. We felt really comfortable in this tournament…

“I think, especially in 2016, the team has showed a lot of times what they are capable of and what they could be capable of in the future. That’s a really good sign. That’s more important for me as a manager.

“But then when you perform in the right moments like we did tonight, or against Dortmund or against United or Augsburg then you want to have more. That’s what we try now.

“Europe is big and a lot of teams want to go to finals, it’s not too easy. Now we are there. It’s a great opportunity and we will take it as an opportunity,” he said.

He admitted, however, that while outstanding performances are required, the club would also need some luck to win the title.

Incredible Comeback: Liverpool Score Four To Sink Dortmund In Europa

LiverpoolLiverpool have qualified for the Europa League semi-finals with a dramatic fight back to defeat Borussia Dortmund 4-3 at Anfield.

Goals from Origi, Coutinho, Sakho and Lovren helped Klopp triumph in the dying minutes of the game against his former club on Thursday night.

Two quick goals by Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the fifth minute and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the ninth minute half had left Liverpool shocked and on the verge of exit without a fight.

Pressure mounted for the fans as the setback was followed by series of missed chances that left the Anfield faithful frustrated.

The second half started well for Liverpool and the early pressure paid off in the 48th minute through Origi but just when Liverpool thought they were launching a comeback, Marco Reus silenced the home fans with a lovely finish, which left Klopp visibly furious.

Two goals down and three away goals already for Dortmund with less than 30 minutes to play, Liverpool needed three goals without conceding any more goals to win on aggregate, having drawn the first leg 1-1 in Germany.

LiverpoolThey made it 3-4 on aggregate in the 66th minute after James Milner played a one-two with Coutinho on the edge of the box, with the Brazilian star guiding home a great strike.

The Brazilian turned the provider of the equalizer in the 77th minutes as he whipped a corner in from the left-hand side with Sturridge managing to do enough to let the ball run past him at the near post!

Former PSG centre-back, Mamadou Sakho was quickest to react and turned home a close-range finish to make it 4-4 on aggregate.

Anfield went wild and they could only pray a complete miracle. One more goal and Liverpool would be in the semis. Both coaches made changes to make the best of the final minutes of the game.

There were four minutes of stoppage time and the pressure got to Schmelzer who picked up a yellow card for petulance, with Dortmund’s tempers flaring after a free-kick was awarded to Liverpool.

The Reds, however, maintained focus and the free-kick was taken short by Milner to Sturridge, with the latter then feeding the former to the right byline. He hung up a lovely cross, with Lovren rising highest at the back post to guide home a thumping header.

It was the 91st minutes and Liverpool had done the unthinkable; fighting back from being 1-3 down to defeat Dortmund 4-3 and qualifying for the semi-final 5-4 on aggregate.

This could go down as one of the greatest nights in Europa League history.

Europa League: Liverpool Defeat Man-U As Tottenham Lose

Europa LeagueThursday night ended in disappointment for two English teams, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United playing away in the Europa League.

Manchester United lost to Liverpool 2-0  at Anfield in their first meeting in Europe with goals from Daniel Sturridge and Roberto Firmino.

The hosts made the breakthrough in the first half when Daniel Sturridge beat David De Gea from the penalty spot after Nathaniel Clyne was brought down by Memphis Depay.

Liverpool midfielders Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho wasted great opportunities to double the home side’s lead before half-time.

However, Roberto Firmino handed the Reds a commanding 2-0 first-leg lead at Anfield after a close-range finish with 17 minutes remaining of the first leg.

Tottenham were shocked by in-form Borrusia Dortmund 3-0 in Germany.

Manchester United and Arsenal target Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave the Germans a first-half lead. Marco Reus hit two after the break to make the Germans the favourites to clinch a place in the quarter-finals in second leg.

In other Europa League round of 16 first leg matches played on Thursday night, Swiss Side Basel played a goalless draw with Spanish club Sevilla while Turkish giants Fenerbache beat Portugal’s Sporting Braga 1-0.

Ukrainian power house Shakhtar Donetsk beat Anderlecht of Belgium 3-1 and Athletic Bilbao beat Valencia 1-0 in an all-Spanish encounter,

Sparta Prague played a 1-1 draw with Ogenyi Onazi’s Lazio while Villareal beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 at the Estadio El Madrigal.