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Reports: Ex-Manchester United winger Nani to MLS

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TFW the Sporting Lisbon player to MLS report you posted earlier isn’t even the most notable Sporting Lisbon player to MLS report in a 24-hour period.

Sure, Fredy Montero is likely to return to Vancouver, bringing a two-time MLS All Star resume with him.

But Nani won the EURO and the Champions League, you know?

Multiple reports say Nani, 32, will join Orlando City this summer, giving the club its biggest star since the retirement of Kaka.

The longtime Manchester United man has 112 caps with 24 goals for Portugal — including a goal against the USMNT at the 2014 World Cup — and has won six leagues between the Premier League and Portugal’s top flight.

He can also count the 2007-08 Champions League title on his resume, as well as Portugual’s EURO 2016 crown. He scored three times in that run.

Report: Montero bringing his game back to MLS

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The Vancouver Whitecaps are getting close to adding a big and familiar piece to their 2019 team.

[ MORE: Sounders go carbon neutral ]

Fredy Montero, one of the club’s 2017 stars, will reportedly return to British Columbia following the termination of his contract by Sporting Libson.

Montero, 31, scored 13 goals with six assists in that run under coach Carl Robinson, and new boss Marc Dos Santos will be thrilled to bring him back to Vancouver.

The winger has nine goals and five assists in 37 appearances since leaving MLS, and joins an intriguing cast in Vancouver. Hwang In-Boem and Lass Bangoura headline a very new-look ‘Caps unit.

Montero was a two-time MLS All-Star with Seattle Sounders before beginning his European adventure.

Arsenal advances to Europa League knockout rounds

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Arsenal’s dull 0-0 draw with Sporting Lisbon was enough to earn a spot in the Europa League knockout rounds, though the Gunners have two fresh injury concerns including a potentially serious ankle ailment for Danny Welbeck.

[ MORE: Chelsea beats BATE ]

The 87th minute saw Sporting’s Jeremy Mathieu pick up a red card for denial of a goal scoring opportunity for a takedown of Aubameyang following a poor back pass.

Qarabag’s 1-0 win at Vorskla Poltava means Arsenal has clinched a berth in the Europa League knockout rounds. Premier League mates Chelsea clinched earlier in the day.

The match cost Arsenal a pair of players, with Danny Welbeck and Stephane Lichtsteiner lifted before the end of the match.

Welbeck’s first half injury was especially distressing, the Arsenal and England striker stretchered off with teammates visibly concerned for the 27-year-old.

Aside from being forced to use Aubameyang in the 30th minute, Unai Emery‘s plan to have some regulars fresh for Sunday’s visit from Wolves went well.

Mesut Ozil, Hector Bellerin, Granit Xhaka, Nacho Monreal and Alexandre Lacazette were not in the 18, while Lucas Torreira and Shkrodan Mustafi were unused subs.

Arsenal top Sporting Lisbon for 11th-straight win

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  • Leno faces zero shots in clean sheet
  • Both teams attempt 14 shots
  • Welbeck scores winner

Arsenal picked up three points through an opportunistic Danny Welbeck in a 1-0 win Europa League win at Sporting Lisbon on Thursday.

The Gunners played a solid if unspectacular away match in their toughest test of the group stage.

Arsenal leads Group E with nine points, three points better than Sporting Lisbon and six clear of Vorskla Poltava.

[ MORE: Europa League standings ]

Sporting keeper Renan Ribeiro had more to do than his Arsenal counterpart in the first stanza of the game, but the Portuguese hosts did come to life as the half wore on.

Nani whizzed a shot over the goal at the half-hour mark, taking advantage of a Rob Holding error.

A quick free kick from Nani early in the second half cued Fredy Montero for a chance that missed the frame.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang‘s rip at the other end may have been headed wide, but Ribeiro palmed it away.

The visitors were ultimately the better team on the night, and would’ve felt aggrieved to not find the winner had former Sunderland and Liverpool man Sebastian Coates not put the ball on a platter for Welbeck.

That’s no slight to Welbeck, who lashed a shot between Ribeiro’s legs.

Stephane Lichtsteiner injured his shoulder in stoppage time, and later took a head-first challenge from Coates.

[ MORE: Europa League schedule ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Europa League preview: Arsenal’s biggest test yet; Chelsea to rest stars

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Arsenal has a very tricky few days ahead of itself, facing the toughest test of its Europa League group stage before returning home for a London Derby against Crystal Palace in the Premier League.

[ MORE: Champions League Weds. wrap ]

A trip to Sporting Lisbon is first, with Bruno Fernandes and Nani poised to knock Arsenal of its perch atop Group E. Both sides have defeated Vorskla Poltava and both have knocked off Qarabag, with Arsenal leading its Portuguese opponents on goal difference.

Unai Emery is very, very focused on Thursday. From Arsenal.com:

“This is a very, very big match and important for our confidence and to try to continue working tactically on the things  with the players with a lot of respect for them. We want to win against Sporting.”

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri is keeping the Premier League fixtures in the forefront as his Blues host BATE Borisov in the Europa League on Thursday.

The Blues will face Burnley at Turf Moor, and will be looking to keep their undefeated league record in tact following a 2-2 draw with Manchester United. Sarri will be giving some rest to his stars’ legs. From ChelseaFC.com:

“We need to think and be careful. For instance Jorginho needs to rest now as he played two 90 minutes in two match for the Italy national team and then nearly 100 minutes in our last game, so it is time to rest for him. Tomorrow Eden Hazard is out for sure. He has a back problem,’ the boss continued. ‘We are trying to solve the problem for Sunday,’.”

Other key matches include Celtic seeking a big result at RB Leipzig, AC Milan and Real Betis squaring off for Group F’s driver’s seat, and Rangers hosting Russian opposition in a bid to keep up a surprise run through Group G.

Elsewhere

12:55 p.m. ET kickoffs
AC Milan vs. Real Betis
Copenhagen vs. Slavia Prague
Zenit Saint-Petersburg vs. Bordeaux
Red Bull Salzburg vs. Rosenborg
Zurich vs. Bayer Leverkusen
Anderlecht vs. Fenerbahce
Sporting Lisbon vs. Arsenal
F91 Dudelange vs. Olympiacos
Qarabag vs. Vorskla Poltava
AEK Larnaca vs. Ludogorets Razgrad
Spartak Trnava vs. Dinamo Zagreb
RB Leipzig vs. Celtic

3 p.m. ET
Villarreal vs. Rapid Vienna
Sevilla vs. Akhisar Belediyespor
Marseille vs. Lazio
Rennes vs. Dynamo Kiev
PAOK vs. MOL Vidi
Standard Liege vs. FC Krasnodar
Chelsea vs. BATE Borisov
Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Apollon Limassol
Besiktas vs. Genk
Jablonec vs. Astana
Sarpsborg vs. Malmo
Rangers vs. Spartak Moscow