Arsenal Qualify For Europa League Q/finals


Arsenal repeated their bashing of Italian club AC Milan to move into the quarter finals of the Europa League, with a 5-1 aggregate score.

Arsenal had stunned the Italians 2-0 in the first leg last week and repeated the same feat at the Emirates on Thursday, with a brace by Danny Welbeck and the third goal by Granit Xhaka. And the Londoners came from a goal down to repeat the feat.

AC Milan’s Hakan Calhanoglu scored first for the visitors in the 35th minute, with an assist by Ricardo Rodriguez. Calhanoglu clearly beat Arsenal’s keeper Ospina from outside the box.

But four minutes after Rodriguez pushed Welbeck inside AC Milan’s box, to concede a penalty, which Welbeck slammed in for Arsenal’s comeback.

The penalty was disputed by AC Milan players and Goalkeeper Donnarumma who protested earned an instant yellow card. Welbeck was believed to have dived after the slight touch by Rodriguez.

Arsenal, dominating possession all through the game, scored the other goals in the 71st and 86th minute.

Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger commenting on the controversial penalty said:

“When I watch the penalty, I will give you an honest answer (whether Welbeck dived),” Wenger told BT Sport.

“It was good to see a response from the team at 1-0 down. I don’t want to accuse Danny Welbeck of diving before I see it again.”

Borussia Dortmund bowed out of the tournament, though, with a tame goalless draw in Austria sealing their fate.

After falling to a shock 2-1 loss in the first leg at home, the German giants failed to break down their stubborn opponents, who will play in the last eight of a continental competition for the first time since losing the 1994 UEFA Cup final to Inter Milan.

CSKA Moscow stunned last season’s semi-finalists Lyon, with a 3-2 victory in France ending the Ligue 1 club’s hopes of reaching May’s final at their own Groupama Stadium.

The Russian away side wiped out Lyon’s first-leg one-goal lead before half-time through Aleksandr Golovin, although Maxwel Cornet equalised for Bruno Genesio’s hosts.

But two goals in five minutes swung the tie in CSKA’s favour, as Ahmed Musa struck on the hour mark and Pontus Wernbloom made it 3-2 on aggregate.

Mariano Diaz gave Lyon hope, but CSKA held on to progress on away goals.

 Earlier on Thursday, Fernando Torres scored twice as Atletico Madrid romped to a 5-1 Europa League thrashing of Lokomotiv Moscow in Russia to complete a resounding victory.

Diego Simeone’s side wrapped up an 8-1 win on aggregate to book a place in Friday’s quarter-final draw.

Elsewhere, Marseille continued their excellent run with a comfortable 5-2 aggregate victory over Athletic Bilbao to reach a European quarter-final for the first time since the 2011-12 Champions League.

“We have to admit that Marseille were superior in both matches,” said Bilbao coach Jose Angel Ziganda.

“We weren’t able to put doubts in their minds, which is what we wanted to do.”

But the match was marred as visiting fans attacked and injured two security guards in the city, just three weeks after an officer died during an unrelated bout of fan violence before Bilbao’s tie with Spartak Moscow.

All the eight  teams that qualified are: Arsenal, Salzburg, who knocked out Borussia Dortmund, Atletico Madrid, Marseille, Sporting CP, RB Leipzig, Lazio and CSKA Moskva, that edged out Lyon on away goal advantage.

The draw for the last eight will be held on Friday.

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