Europa League round-up: Arsenal and Manchester United advance

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https://www.sportinglife.com-Bukayo Saka scored in Arsenal’s win over Slavia Prague

Slavia Prague 0-4 Arsenal (1-5 Agg)

Arsenal turned on the style to ease past Slavia Prague and set up a Europa League semi-final tie against former head coach Unai Emery’s Villarreal.

With the tie finely-poised following a 1-1 home draw a week ago, the Gunners put in one of their best showings under Mikel Arteta to win 4-0 in Prague.

Nicolas Pepe opened the scoring as his fine Europa League campaign continues, with an Alexandre Lacazette brace and a Bukayo Saka strike more than enough to see them through.

They will meet Villarreal in the last four as Emery, sacked after just 18 months in charge of Arsenal after succeeding Arsene Wenger, looks to win a fourth Europa League title as a manager.

The result came without captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who revealed on Instagram before the game that he contracted malaria while on international duty with Gabon last month.

Emile Smith Rowe thought he had cancelled out Slavia’s away goal early on but saw his goal ruled out by VAR for offside after he tapped in the rebound from Saka’s strike off the post.

But moments after the restart the visitors got their goal, Smith Rowe slid in a pass to Pepe, who held off a defender and squeezed in the opener just as he had late on at the Emirates Stadium.

The quick feet from Smith Rowe.
Pépé’s composure.

A class Arsenal opener! 😍#UEL pic.twitter.com/iNiJ2fQjlT

— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 15, 2021

Arsenal turned the tie well in their favour by adding a second goal three minutes later.

Jakub Hromada fouled Saka in the box and Lacazette made no mistake in converting the resulting penalty to give Arteta’s side a 2-0 lead on the night, meaning Slavia would need to win outright on the evening to go through.

But the hosts were clearly rocked and Arsenal extended their lead further still with only 24 minutes on the clock.

Saka, as he had in the lead up to Smith Rowe’s earlier offside effort, cut in and this time sent his shot into the near post to put the Gunners 3-0 ahead on the night.

The second-half was a comfortable affair for Arteta and his players as they kept a disheartened Slavia side at arm’s length.

Lacazette would extend their advantage, collecting a pass from Pepe and showing great composure before firing in his second of the evening and his seventh in his last nine appearances.

Manchester United 2-0 Granada (4-0 Agg)

Edinson Cavani set Manchester United on course for a comfortable victory against Granada as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side reached the Europa League semi-finals for the second successive season.

Marcus Rashford’s fine goal and a late Bruno Fernandes penalty in Spain last week put the Red Devils in control of the quarter-final tie heading into Thursday’s reverse fixture at an empty Old Trafford.

United extinguished any hope of a remarkable Granada turnaround when veteran Cavani volleyed home in the sixth minute, with Jesus Vallejo’s late own goal wrapping up a 2-0 win, giving Sporting Life’s Jake Pearson two winners from two on the night.

The reward is a mouth-watering semi-final clash against Roma and a reunion with Chris Smalling and Henrikh Mkhitaryan – starters when United won the Europa League in 2017.

That was the Old Trafford giants’ last trophy and they never looked in danger of being denied a fifth semi-final in two seasons after Cavani volleyed home a smart flick on by Paul Pogba.

A first European goal in Manchester United colours for Edinson Cavani! 🔴

You just can’t give the Uruguayan space like that!

A cracking finish! 👏#UEL pic.twitter.com/XhPpfY2jK9

— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 15, 2021

The France midfielder captained the side in the absence of Harry Maguire – one of three suspended players – and was withdrawn at the end of a first half in which Granada called for him to receive a second booking.

United continued in the ascendancy after the break and ex-Wolves defender Vallejo turned into his own goal under pressure from substitute Juan Mata at the death as Granada’s remarkable first continental campaign came to an end.

 

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