Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, and Arsenal progress to the Europa League round of 16 by virtue of their superior respective aggregate score lines. However, Leicester City miss the bus for the next round of European club football’s second-tier competition.
Tottenham Hotspur too strong for Wolfsberger:
Tottenham Hotspur made light work of winning against Austrian outfit Wolfsberger by an aggregate score of 8-1. Jose Mourinho’s team proved to be very strong for their opponents yet again as they fired in four goals for the second time at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium, this time without any reply.
Brazilian forward Carlos Vinicius was the catalyst of this mass destruction, netting two goals in this return leg, and becoming Europa League’s top scorer in the process. They will play current Croatian league leaders Dinamo Zagreb in their round of 16 matches.
Manchester United favourite to win Europa League?
Manchester United and Real Sociedad played out a goalless draw in their second leg at Old Trafford. But United had surprisingly decimated the La Liga side in their first leg in Turin by four goals, and progress to the round of 16 on an aggregate scoreline of 4-0.
They will meet Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s AC Milan in the next round, setting up a mouthwatering clash between two European giants.
Arsenal worked hard to get past Benfica test:
Arsenal needed the heroics of Bukayo Saka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to triumph over Benfica in their second leg tie at the Karaiskakis stadium. The Gunners had shared the spoils at the Stadio Olimpico by one goal each.
North London giants started the 2nd leg brightly with Aubameyang coolly lifting the ball beyond goalkeeper Helton Leite upon receiving an incisive pass from Saka. But Benfica soon fought back with two crucial away goals, thanks to a helping hand from Dani Ceballos.
Kieran Tierney pulled one back for the Gunners in the 67th minute, but Benfica would have still qualified on the away goals rule. Aubameyang left it late till the 87th minute to score Arsenal’s winner in dramatic fashion from a Saka back-post cross, and redeemed himself for his last gasp miss in the dying moments of last year’s 2nd leg against Olympiacos.
Arsenal edged Benfica 4-3 on aggregate and will meet old foes Olympiacos yet again in this year’s last 16.
Leicester City’s shock exit from Europa League:
Leicester City were subject to a shock 0-2 defeat at the hands of Czech side Slavia Prague in their second leg tie at the King Power stadium after a goalless 1st leg in Prague.
Brendan Rogers had left in-form winger Harvey Barnes on the bench for the first hour of the match, and playmaker James Maddison was out with a hip injury. After a tightly contested first half, Lukas Provod steered home a volley off Nicolae Stanciu’s cross in the 49th minute.
The final nail in Leicester’s coffin was hammered by 19-year-old striker Abdallah Sima, who drilled home the second goal from outside the box. It took the Czech leaders into the round of 16 on an aggregate scoreline of 2-0. They will meet Steven Gerrard’s Scottish side Rangers in the next round.
The 1st and the 2nd leg of the round of 16 matches will be played on 11th and 18th March respectively.