Europa League: Tottenham knocked out but Arsenal and Man Utd go through

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https://www.sportinglife.com-Spurs paid the price for a poor performance in Croatia

Tottenham were stunned by Dinamo Zagreb as Arsenal and Manchester United both progressed into the Europa League quarter-finals.


Thursday’s winning tips

  • 1pt Manchester United to beat AC Milan at 23/20 (General)
  • 1pt Olympiakos to win or draw v Arsenal at 2/1 (General)
  • 1pt Slavia Prague to beat Rangers at 5/2 (SBK)

AC Milan 0-1 Man Utd (agg 1-2): Pogba back with a bang

Paul Pogba returned from injury with a bang as the super sub fired Manchester United to victory at AC Milan and a place in the Europa League quarter-finals.

Simon Kjaer’s stoppage-time equaliser at Old Trafford last week left the return leg of this last-16 encounter between these European heavyweights fascinatingly poised.

Pogba missed the first leg during a 40-day absence with a thigh injury and made a timely return at San Siro, where he scored minutes after his half-time introduction to secure a 1-0 win and 2-1 aggregate triumph.

The France midfielder’s smart 48th-minute strike was a gut punch for Milan, who had looked confident during a cagey opening period in which United struggled to impose themselves.

That changed when Pogba was introduced at the break and scored from close range having shaped to cross, leading Milan to turn to ex-United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the bench.

Dean Henderson made amends for letting in Kjaer’s leveller last week by superbly denying the 39-year-old as the Red Devils held out to keep their hopes of Europa League glory alive.

Dinamo Zagreb 3-0 Tottenham (agg 3-2 AET): Woeful Spurs down and out

Jose Mourinho was left feeling the pressure after Tottenham were embarrassingly dumped out of the Europa League after a 3-0 loss to Dinamo Zagreb.

Spurs had one foot in the quarter-finals after last week’s 2-0 first-leg win, but they crumbled in Croatia and succumbed to Mislav Orsic’s sensational hat-trick, going out 3-2 on aggregate after extra-time.

Even at half-time of the second leg it seemed unthinkable that Spurs would not progress, but Orsic struck twice in the second half to send it to extra-time and then won it with 14 minutes remaining.

Dinamo gave themselves hope just after the hour. It came in style as well, as Orsic, who missed a golden chance to put his side in front in London last week, picked up the ball on the left-hand side and taking advantage of Serge Aurier backing off he cut inside and curled an unstoppable shot into the top corner.

With the wind in their sails the hosts sensed a second and could have found one, but Kristjan Jakic stabbed over from a corner and then Bruno Petkovic lost his composure to fire over from a good position.

Mourinho sent on Giovani Lo Celso and Tanguy Ndombele and the Argentinian almost made an immediate impact in his first appearance since December, but his deflected shot was saved by Livakovic.

Tottenham have been shocking at defending leads in the Premier League this season so there was an air of inevitably about what happened in the 82nd minute.

The hosts got in down the right and Iyayi Atiemwen pulled it back for Orsic to fire home his second of the night from 10 yards out to level the tie on aggregate.

That finally forced Spurs into action and they almost hit back immediately with their best moment of the night as Gareth Bale’s cross was begging to be converted by Kane at the back post, but the England captain’s header was saved by Livakovic and then cleared off the line by Kevin Theophile-Catherine as extra-time loomed.

Orsic’s memorable night climaxed in the second minute of the second half of extra-time as he embarked on a surging run, beating several players and finding the bottom corner.

Spurs tried to respond but Livakovic saved his best two stops for last as he denied Bale and Kane late in extra-time as the Croatians claimed a famous comeback victory.

Arsenal 0-1 Olympiakos (agg 3-2): Gunners through despite loss

Recalled Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed a number of clear-cut chances as the Gunners made heavy weather of progressing to the Europa League quarter-finals against 10-man Olympiacos.

Holding a 3-1 victory from the first leg in Greece, a poor display saw Mikel Arteta’s side lose 1-0 at the Emirates Stadium but advance on aggregate.

Arteta opted to recall Aubameyang after axing his captain for the north London derby win over Tottenham four days earlier following a breach in pre-match protocol.

But the skipper would pass up a number of opportunities to kill off the tie, with Youssef El-Arabi scoring in a third successive game against Arsenal to earn the Greek champions victory on the night despite the dismissal of Ousseynou Ba.

It had been a similar story in the round of 32 meeting between the sides last year, El-Arabi scoring the last-minute goal to send Olympiacos through as Aubameyang missed a sitter with virtually the last kick of the game.

El-Arabi would again be the man to get the goal in this tie, as he converted past Leno with the aid of a deflection off Gabriel Magalhaes in the 51st minute.

Thankfully for Arsenal, the work had been done a week earlier in Athens this time around but Arteta will know they need to be much better in the next round if they are to keep alive their hopes of lifting the Europa League.


Rangers 0-2 Slavia Prague (agg 1-3) Nine-man Gers outclassed

Nine-man Rangers met their match in the Europa League as Slavia Prague crushed Steven Gerrard’s quarter-final dreams.

Kemar Roofe and Leon Balogun were both sent off as the Czech champions claimed a 2-0 win at Ibrox to smash Gers’ 12-game unbeaten run in Europe.

Peter Olayinka headed Slavia ahead early on but Gers felt they could still turn it around in the second half.

However, Roofe’s dismissal for a brutal boot to the face of Prague keeper Ondrej Kolar was a fatal set-back which was quickly compounded by Balogun, who picked up a second yellow as he handed Nicolae Stanciu a set-piece chance he expertly sweep home the second.

There was another flash-point just before the end as the Gers players seemed to accuse Slavia’s Ondrej Kudela of an offensive comment.

But it is Jindrich Trpisovsky’s men who now march into Friday’s draw for the last eight after following up their last-16 triumph over Leicester with another British scalp – leaving Gerrard’s recently-crowned Scottish champions with only the Scottish Cup to strive for this term.

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