Europa League wrap: Late goals see Man United win big(ger), Arsenal draw


The first leg of the Europa League quarterfinals went into the books on Thursday, with Manchester United and Arsenal seeing stoppage-time goals swing their fortunes in drastically different directions.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Bayern Munich 2-3 PSG ]

Granada 0-2 Manchester United

Manchester United were already looking quite comfortable heading back to Old Trafford with an advantage and an away goal to their name, but a late penalty kick was (barely) converted by Bruno Fernandes to secure twice the cushion against Spanish side Granada.

They put just two shots on target the whole game, and they managed to score them both — first, from Marcus Rashford in the 31st minute, followed by Fernandes’s nearly-saved penalty. Non-Manchester United fans will call it slim margins and a great deal of luck, while the Red Devils fans choose to see it as ruthless efficiency when it comes to chance conversion.

That’s goal no. 24 of the season for Fernandes (all competitions; 16 in the Premier League) to go with 14 assists (all comps; 11 in the PL).

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Porto 0-2 Chelsea ]

Arsenal 1-1 Slavia Prague

Arsenal, on the other hand, were the ones to concede the critical stoppage-time goal in their home leg against Czech side Slavia Prague.

Long before that, though, Slavia Prague embarrassed themselves by refusing to kneel alongside the Arsenal players and match referees. With Slavia Prague defender Ondrej Kudela having recently been the subject of accusations that he racially abused Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara (for which Kudela was handed a one-match ban) during the last round of the Europa League , Kudela’s teammates seemed to indicate they stand with their accused teammate ahead of the call for ridding society of racism.

Once the game got started, neither side was overly impressive in that scoring chances were quite scarce for the vast majority of the game. It was until Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang played a through ball in behind for Nicolas Pepe that either side truly looked like scoring.

The 1-0 home victory would have been less than desired for manager Mikel Arteta, but satisfactory at the very least. It wasn’t to be, however, as Tomas Holes headed home a corner kick with 62 seconds of stoppage time remaining. The away leg became far more difficult to navigate, thanks to that disastrously failed clearance.

Europa League results

Granada 0-2 Manchester United
Arsenal 1-1 Slavia Prague
Ajax 1-2 Roma
Dinamo Zagreb 0-1 Villarreal

Europa League second leg schedule

All games next Thursday, April 15 – 3 pm ET

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