Sat, Mar 16, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Aubameyang seals Arsenal comeback

‘ONE TITLE’:Three goals were scored after regulation in a thrilling back-and-forth, as Slavia Prague edged five-time champions Sevilla 4-3, bringing them to 6-5 on aggregate

AFP, PARIS

Arsenal’s Ainsley Maitland-Niles, right, celebrates scoring their second goal in their Europa League round-of-16 second leg against Stade Rennes on Thursday in London.

Photo: Reuters

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on Thursday spearheaded Arsenal’s revival by scoring twice in a 3-0 win over Rennes to reach the Europa League quarter-finals 4-3 on aggregate, as Chelsea and Napoli also booked a last-eight spot.

The Gunners canceled out their 3-1 deficit from last week’s first leg in France inside 15 minutes, as Aubameyang swept home from close range before teeing up Ainsley Maitland-Niles to head home.

However, Rennes had cause to complain as Aubameyang should have been flagged offside before the second goal.

With the video assistant not in use for the Europa League, there was no recourse for Rennes and the Ligue 1 side will also reflect on missed opportunities as a historic European run for the club came to an end.

Winning the Europa League also offers Arsenal and Chelsea the safety net of Champions League qualification should they fail to make the top four in the English Premier League.

However, Arsenal boss Unai Emery, who won the Europa League three times as Sevilla coach, also wants the glory of a trophy in his first season in charge.

“It is not only the possibility to go to Champions League, it is one title and we can feel the possibility to win one title,” the Spaniard said.

Chelsea cruised into the last eight with greater ease, as six Premier League sides were to take their place in yesterday’s quarter-finals draws with Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur in the last eight of the Champions League.

After a 3-0 victory in last week’s last 16, first leg at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea were even more dominant in Kiev, as Olivier Giroud scored his first hat-trick for the club.

“We started very well. We wanted to start in this way,” Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri told BT Sport. “We played a wonderful first half and managed the game in the second half.”

Giroud netted a first-half double, before Marcos Alonso slid home a third on the stroke of halftime.

Five-time winners Sevilla were beaten 4-3 after extra time to lose a thrilling tie against Slavia Prague 6-5 on aggregate.

Twice the Spanish side came from behind to take the tie to extra time thanks to goals from Wissam Ben Yedder and Munir El-Haddadi.

However, after Franco Vazquez had given Sevilla a 3-2 lead on the night, Slavia hit back and Ibrahim Traore’s winner a minute from time sealed a famous win for the Czechs.

SSC Napoli wrapped up a 4-3 aggregate victory over last season’s semi-finalists Red Bull Salzburg, despite a 3-1 second-leg loss in Austria.

Another Serie A giant fell, though, as the highly rated Luka Jovic scored the only goal of the night and the tie, as Eintracht Frankfurt beat Inter at the San Siro.

Russian outfit Krasnodar suffered heartbreak as Goncalo Guedes scored a dramatic injury-time equalizer to send Valencia through 3-2 on aggregate after a 1-1 second-leg draw.

Spanish sides have dominated this competition in the past few years, and despite Sevilla’s defeat will have two representatives in the last eight, as Villarreal beat Zenit St Petersburg 2-1 to seal a resounding 5-2 aggregate victory.

Benfica, runners-up in 2013 and 2014, were also taken to extra-time by Dinamo Zagreb, but eventually overturned a 1-0 first leg deficit with a 3-0 win in Lisbon.

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