Arsenal on Thursday reached the UEFA Europa League round-of-32 as Premier League strugglers Everton crashed out.
Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal fought out a drab 0-0 draw with Red Star Belgrade at the Emirates Stadium in London, but the point was enough to make sure of qualifying for the knockout round with two games to spare in Group H.
Jack Wilshere, overlooked by England manager Gareth Southgate earlier in the day, had the best chance, but saw a second-half effort cleared off the line.
The result allowed the Gunners to stretch their unbeaten home run in all competitions to 16 games.
“If you can’t win the game, don’t lose it. We’re not delighted with the point, but we’ll take it,” Wilshere said.
Languishing in the relegation zone in the Premier League and without a permanent manager since the sacking of Ronald Koeman last week, Everton succumbed to three second-half goals against Olympique Lyonnais.
Bertrand Traore rounded Jordan Pickford to break the deadlock on 68 minutes in the Group E clash.
Memphis Depay then set up 19-year-old Houssem Aouar to steer in a slick second goal for the hosts on 76 minutes.
The former Manchester United winger completed the scoring himself late on after another former United player, Everton’s Morgan Schneiderlin, was sent off for a second booking.
“We’re really disappointed with the result. For nearly 70 minutes we were nearly perfect with our game plan, and created a couple of opportunities and should have scored,” Everton caretaker manager David Unsworth said.
Everton also lost defender Cuco Martina to a worrying incident in the first half as the Curacao international was stretchered off in a neck brace following an awkward fall.
Despite suffering a concussion and needing hospital treatment, Martina was later discharged and traveled back to Merseyside.
Seven-time European champions AC Milan, in the midst of a poor run of form in Serie A, failed to relieve much pressure on under-fire manager Vincenzo Montella following a 0-0 draw at AEK in Athens.
The Italian side hit the post on 57 minutes through Riccardo Montolivo, while Turkey midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu had a powerful drive turned away as Milan remained two points clear of their Greek hosts in Group D.
SS Lazio downed OGC Nice 1-0 in Group K to qualify for the round-of-32 as the only team with a 100 percent record.
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