Paul Pogba on Thursday scored the winner on his return from injury as Manchester United beat AC Milan 1-0 to join Arsenal in the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals, while Dinamo Zagreb knocked out Tottenham Hotspur after extra-time in Croatia.
The France midfielder struck the only goal at the San Siro four minutes after replacing Marcus Rashford as a halftime substitute, scooping home after an ugly scramble inside the Milan penalty area.
United goalkeeper Dean Henderson produced an excellent reflex save to deny Zlatan Ibrahimovic an equalizer against his old club and secure a 2-1 aggregate victory for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team.
“We’ve come through a very difficult tie against a fantastic club and we’ve overcome some difficulties,” Solskjaer told BT Sport. “We’ve missed Paul, he’s been out for almost two months. He was just getting into his best form. He’s going to give us a big boost for the rest of the season.”
The three-time European champions are one of two English clubs in the draw for the last eight, as Arsenal also qualified, despite suffering a 1-0 loss to Olympiacos in the second leg.
Youssef El-Arabi’s deflected second-half strike earned Olympiacos another victory at the Emirates, but Arsenal advanced 3-2 on aggregate, avenging their exit to the Greek side on away goals last season.
“Really happy to be through. We had a tough opponent, so happy to be through. Sometimes we have to be fair with ourselves — we were nowhere near the levels we could be,” Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said.
Jose Mourinho’s Spurs crashed out of the competition after surrendering a 2-0 lead from the first leg, with Dinamo forward Mislav Orsic scoring a brilliant hat-trick for the Croatian champions.
Dinamo coach Zoran Mamic resigned this week after being sentenced to four years, eight months in jail for fraud involving Luka Modric’s move to Tottenham and other transfers.
However, Orsic curled in a marvelous shot from the corner of the penalty area to give Dinamo the lead on 62 minutes and then capped off a fine move with a thumping finish to send the match to extra-time.
Orsic completed his treble in style as he ran past three players and hammered a low drive beyond Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris from the edge of the penalty area on 106 minutes.
Harry Kane nearly snatched a late goal that would have put Spurs through on away goals, but his effort was clawed out by Dinamo goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic as the hosts won 3-2 on aggregate.
“My team didn’t bring to the game the basics of football or life — to respect our jobs and give everything. I can only apologize to the Tottenham supporters,” Mourinho said. “If I forget the last 10 minutes of extra-time, where we did something to get a different result, the 90 minutes and first half of extra-time was one team leaving everything on the pitch. My team didn’t look like it was playing an important match. Another attitude is needed. To say I feel sad is not enough. What I feel is much more than sadness.”
Steven Gerrard’s Rangers finished with nine men in a 2-0 home loss to Slavia Prague, as the Czech side won 3-1 on aggregate.
Peter Olayinka gave Slavia an early lead at Ibrox and Rangers’ hopes of a comeback suffered a double blow when Kemar Roofe and Leon Balogun were sent off for the Scottish champions in the second half.
Nicolae Stanciu’s free-kick immediately after Balogun’s dismissal ensured victory for Slavia.
Ajax made sure of their passage to the next round as a David Neres goal and Dusan Tadic penalty rounded off a 5-0 aggregate win over BSC Young Boys.
Gerard Moreno’s double in Spain gave Villarreal a second 2-0 victory over Dynamo Kiev in as many weeks, while Granada extended their debut run in Europe, going through 3-2 on aggregate despite a 2-1 loss to Norway’s Molde in Budapest.
AS Roma also progressed as a 2-1 victory courtesy of two goals from Borja Mayoral against Shakhtar Donetsk in Kiev wrapped up a 5-1 win on aggregate.
INTO THE SEMIS: Top seed Tai Tzu-ying hit two stunning backhands in quick succession while on the floor in her quarter-final, prompting disbelieving gasps and cheers Taiwanese badminton stars Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin yesterday advanced to the gold medal match of the men’s doubles, while Taiwanese top seed Tai Tzu-ying got off to a rough start in a nail-biting women’s singles quarter-final against Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon, but rallied with a series of flash backhand smashes. Lee and Wang beat Indonesia’s Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan 21-11, 21-10 in their men’s doubles semi-final to set up a shot at the gold medal against China’s Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen, who had a 24-22, 21-13 win over Malaysia’s Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik. Tai rallied from a game
‘BOSS CHARACTER’: Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin said they had ‘crawled out of hell’ and have nothing to lose in a match against the world’s No. 2 pairing Badminton duo Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin made history in Tokyo yesterday by becoming the first Taiwanese shuttlers to advance to an Olympics semi-final after they edged their Japanese rivals in the quarter-finals of the men’s doubles. The world No. 3 Taiwanese duo defeated Hiroyuki Endo and Yuta Watanabe 21-16, 21-19 in 44 minutes at the Musashino Forest Plaza. By reaching the final four, the pair have recorded Taiwan’s best ever showing in Olympic badminton, surpassing a quarter-finals finish by Lee Sheng-mu and Fang Chieh-min in the men’s doubles at the London Games in 2012. After clinching the hard-earned victory, Lee dropped to
Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, who won the Philippines’ first-ever Olympic gold medal this week, on Thursday said that she has fond memories of training in Kaohsiung in 2019 and feels like she has family there. In an online interview organized by the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines, Diaz said she visited Taiwan twice in 2019 so she could concentrate on her training without being distracted by friends and invitations to socialize. “I feel like I have also family there,” she said, adding that she did her training sessions at Gushan Senior High School in Kaohsiung. Diaz, who claimed gold in the under-55kg class
Taiwan’s Tai Tzu-ying had just lost a heartbreaker in her Olympic badminton gold medal match final on Sunday, but comforting words from fellow shuttler P.V. Sindhu of India helped her work through a cauldron of emotions. In a Facebook post late on Sunday, Tai wrote that she was feeling reasonably satisfied with her performance after losing to China’s Chen Yufei 18-21, 21-19, 18-21 in the women’s singles final, when Sindhu, who won bronze, sought her out after the medal ceremony. Sindhu, who lost to Tai in the semi-finals on Saturday, hugged the Taiwanese athlete. “You performed very well. Today just wasn’t your day,”