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.
The all-English Champions League final might be played in England after Turkey was added to its “red list” of countries where all but essential travel is banned due to COVID-19 outbreaks. Chelsea and Manchester City are due to meet on May 29 in Istanbul and UEFA was hoping to allow about 10,000 fans into the biggest club game of the European soccer season. However, the British government on Friday warned supporters not to travel to Turkey after imposing the new travel restrictions and said that the English Football Association was in talks with Champions League organizer UEFA about staging the game in
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga yesterday said that he has never “put the Olympics first,” the same day an opinion poll showed that nearly 60 percent of people in Japan want the Olympics canceled less than three months before they begin. Japan has extended a state of emergency in Tokyo until the end of the month and is struggling to contain a surge in COVID-19 cases, raising further questions about whether the Games should go on. Its vaccination rate is the lowest among wealthy nations. International Olympic officials, Tokyo planners and Suga have insisted that the Games would go on in “a
Chinese Taipei Football Association (CTFA) secretary-general Fang Ching-jen yesterday touted the success of the Taiwan Business Bank Taiwan Futsal League after Chiayi Tienching on Sunday displayed their all-conquering form and collected the championship trophy with a 5-2 win over YTFC at the Pingtung County Stadium. Since January, when the season began, Chiayi Tienching scored a perfect 10 wins off 10 games to collect 30 points. Taichung Traveler were second, finishing on 22 points with seven wins, two losses and one draw, while CTFA U20 were third on 17 points with five wins, three losses and two draws. In the season’s final round on
Japanese nurse Arisa Tsubata has trained around her work shifts for more than a year to prepare for a final Olympic boxing qualifier in the hope of making it to the Tokyo Games this summer. That dream was shattered after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) canceled the boxing qualifier to take place next month and said it would allocate spots to athletes based on their world rankings. The change in criteria has effectively shut the door on many Olympic hopefuls such as Tsubata, whose rankings are not good enough to earn them an automatic qualification for the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Other qualifying