Sat, Dec 01, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Arsenal, Chelsea win as next stage looms


Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud, left, attemps to control the ball as PAOK goalkeeper Alexandros Paschalakis dives during their Europa League Group L match at Stamford Bridge in London on Thursday.

Photo: Reuters

Chelsea and Arsenal both enjoyed high-scoring Europa League wins on Thursday, while Celtic and Rangers were left with work to do on the final matchday to qualify for the next stage.

Unai Emery selected a youthful Arsenal to play in Ukraine and they romped past Vorskla Poltava 3-0, guaranteeing top spot in Group E in a match switched to freezing Kiev after security concerns in the east of the country.

Teenagers Emile Smith Rowe and Joe Willock scored either side of an Aaron Ramsey penalty as the Gunners went in 3-0 at halftime.

Arsenal avoid any of the Champions League drop-outs in the draw for the next round, as they have a better head-to-head record with second-placed Sporting.

Maurizio Sarri had demanded a reaction from his Chelsea side after they lost against Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League and the Blues answered his call, beating PAOK 4-0 to win their group with a brace from French target man Olivier Giroud.

“The main target was to win, we needed a strong team reaction and we did it well tonight,” Giroud said. “I am really happy with the team spirit, and we can move forwards now and start some new momentum.”

“I’ve scored goals in the past, but it’s true that I was waiting for more chances,” said Giroud, who broke a long streak without a goal in the previous round. “You need a bit of luck in front of goal. I had a good assist from my teammates, I love this kind of ball behind the defense.”

“Four goals plus a clean sheet, a good night for us. When the manager starts me I try to give my best, do my part,” he said.

Celtic still need a final day draw to go through after beating pointless Rosenborg away for the second year in a row thanks to Scott Sinclair’s emphatic header just before the break. They can thank Austrian outfit Red Bull Salzburg, who won Group B outright with a victory over their German sister club RB Leipzig 1-0. Salzburg have to win in Glasgow to qualify ahead of Celtic.

Rangers drew 0-0 at home with Villarreal, keeping their hopes of final-day qualification from Group G alive a point behind Villarreal and SK Rapid Wien, who were both on seven.

Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Zurich, Dinamo Zagreb, Arsenal, Eintracht Frankfurt, SS Lazio and Chelsea were already qualified before Thursday’s games, when Salzburg, Sporting, Real Betis Balompie, Zenit Saint-Petersburg, Dynamo Kiev, Krasnodar and Fenerbahce SK all secured their place in the hat for the draw for the next round.

AC Milan were given a helping hand by two own-goals as they survived a big scare before beating F91 Dudelange of Luxembourg 5-2.

The seven-time European Cup winners trailed 2-1 midway through the second half, but came storming back with four goals in the final 24 minutes of the Group F tie.

In other games RSC Anderlecht and Spartak Trnava drew 0-0, BATE Borisov beat MOL Vidi 2-0, Girondins de Bordeaux defeated SK Slavia Prague 2-0, FK Jablonec lost 1-0 to Stade Rennais, Malmo FF and KRC Genk drew 2-2, Sarpsborg 08 lost 3-2 against Besiktas JK and Standard Liege beat Sevilla 1-0.

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