2018-2019 Europa League

Europa League Roundup: Arsenal shutout Napoli; Eintracht, Valencia advance

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What road problems?

For the second consecutive match, Arsenal picked up a 1-0 win on the road, this time against even tougher competition. Arsenal beat Napoli, 1-0, and 3-0 on aggregate to advance to the Europa League semifinals. Alexandre Lacazette scored a terrific free kick from 30-yards out, taking advantage of Alex Meter shifting the wrong way.

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In the second half, with Napoli needing four goals and pushing, Arsenal relied heavily on its centerback trio of Sokratis, Laurent Koscielny, and Nacho Monreal, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Saed Kolasinac helping in defense.

It’s a reversal of Arsenal’s recent fortunes, where before Monday, they hadn’t won on the road since February, including in the Europa League to Rennes. However, the 2-0 scoreline from the first leg really gave Arsenal the push and momentum it needed to get past a struggling Napoli side under Carlo Ancelotti.

Elsewhere, Valencia took care of languishing Villarreal in style with a 2-0 victory, winning 5-1 on aggregate, but the real drama took place in Germany.

With Eintracht Frankfurt trailing before kickoff by a pair of goals, the Eagles – well, both Benfica and Eintracht are the Eagles – managed to secure a 2-0 result to advance in the Europa League. Sebastian Rode’s second-half finish off an Ante Rebec pass has kept Eintracht’s season alive in Europe, where Luka Jovic can continue to market himself to the world’s biggest clubs.

Chelsea survive, hold off Slavia Prague to advance to Europa League semis

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Chelsea advanced to the UEFA Europa League semifinals on Thursday evening, but not without a few heart-stopping moments at both ends of the field.

Chelsea defeated Slavia Prague, 4-3, (5-3 on aggregate) in a seven-goal thriller that looked at one point to be headed for double digits in combined goals. Pedro scored a pair of goals, the first on a wonderful team effort, while Olivier Giroud and an own goal also helped Chelsea’s cause.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box scores ]

While Chelsea ran out to an impressive 4-1 lead on the night at the halftime break, Slavia Prague was kept in the game thanks to the right leg of Petr Ševčík, who scored twice early in the second half to make it a game again, and put Slavia just two goals away from an improbable result at Stamford Bridge.

After Tottenham’s wild finish past Manchester City, anything seems to be possible these days. However, Chelsea held down the fort late and survived to advance to the next round.

In the match, Chelsea displayed some of the beautiful soccer that had made Maurizio Sarri such a prized figure in coaching circles. Chelsea’s first goal featured a litany of one-touch passes and great off the ball movement, ending with a Pedro goal.

Chelsea went up 2-0 thanks to an own goal we’ve rarely seen before, as Pedro fired a shot that cannon’d off the post, popped up in the air and directed off Slavia Prague defender Simon Dell and into his own net. Then Giroud scored before Pedro finished at the first post again on what should have been his hat-trick to put Chelsea up 4-1.

However, Ševčík wasn’t finished yet, and the Czech midfielder popped a pair of great goals to make for some nervy moments late at Stamford Bridge. Ultimately, though, Chelsea was able to move on and advance to the semifinals. Chelsea will next face Eintracht Frankfort, which completed a terrific home comeback with a 2-0 win to go through past Benfica on away goals, tied 4-4 on aggregate.

Europa League Wrap: Chelsea, Arsenal, Milan all win, Celtic loses in Austria

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It was a packed day of Europa League action, with more than five hours of coverage. Let’s summarize what we learned after Matchday 2.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]


Chelsea 1-0 Vidi FC

Alvaro Morata finally broke his goal duck, scoring for the first time in six weeks as Chelsea overcame Vidi FC, 1-0 at Stamford Bridge.

Morata’s clinical finish, stabbing a strike home at the near post off a Willian header, was thanks to a wonderful cross into the box by Cesc Fabregas and creative wide play from substitutes Ross Barkley and Eden Hazard. The Chelsea pair drew four defenders out of the box, opening space for both Willian and Morata.

With the win, Chelsea sits at the top of Group  L with six points from two matches.


Apollon Limassol 2-2 Marseille

Emilio Zelaya’s stoppage time chip canceled out a 2-0 lead by Marseille on the road as Limassol secured a massive point in the Europa League. The 2-2 result came in spite of a pair of terrific Marseille goals, first from Dimitri Payet on a maze-like run and second from former Brazil international Luiz Gustavo.


Red Bull Salzburg 3-1 Celtic

Despite a second-minute goal, Red Bull Salzburg emerged victorious after 90 minutes over Celtic. Israeli international Munas Dabbur scored twice for the hosts in the second half, canceling out Odsonne Edouard’s solo goal just over 90 seconds into the match. With the defeat, Celtic move into third place, tied with RB Leipzig on three points but below the German club on goal differential.

Scoreboard

Bayer Leverkusen 4-2 AEK Larnaca

Zurich 1-0 Ludogorets

Rosenborg 1-3 RB Leipzig

Red Bull Salzburg 3-1 Celtic

Bordeaux 1-2 FC Copenhagen

FC Zenit 1-0 Slavia Prague

Anderlecht 0-2 Dinamo Zagreb

Fenerbahce 2-0 Spartak Trnava

Qarabag 0-3 Arsenal

Vorskla 1-2 Sporting Lisbon

Milan 3-1 Olympiacos

Betis 3-0 Dudelange

Rangers 3-1 Rapid Wien

Spartak Moscow 3-3 Villarreal

Apollon Limassol 2-2 Marseille

Eintracht Frankfurt 4-1 Lazio

Malmo 2-0 Besiktas

Sarpsborg 3-1 Genk

Krasnodar 2-1 Sevilla [Game-Winning Bicycle Kick]

Standard Liege 2-1 Akhisarspor

Astana 2-0 Rennes

Jablonec 2-2 Dynamo Kiev

BATE 1-4 PAOK

Chelsea 1-0 Vidi FC