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Arsenal, Man Utd, Rangers into Europa League last 16 as Leicester exit
- Updated: February 26, 2021
PARIS: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice including a late winner as Arsenal qualified for the last 16 of the Europa League on Thursday (Feb 25) with a 3-2 victory over Benfica in Greece, while Manchester United and Rangers cruised through to the next round.
The Gabon striker put Arsenal ahead at the Karaiskakis stadium in Piraeus in their home leg of a tie relocated due to Covid-19 travel restrictions between Portugal and the United Kingdom.
Diogo Goncalves levelled the contest with a magnificent free-kick and Rafa Silva gave Benfica a 2-1 lead on the night when he took advantage of an error from Dani Ceballos on the hour.
Kieran Tierney rifled in an equaliser and Aubameyang headed in the decisive goal from Bukayo Saka’s cross on 87 minutes, earning the Gunners a 4-3 aggregate victory and saving them from an unusual away goals exit following a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Rome.
“Everyone is happy tonight. This is what gives me power every day, take errors from the past and transform to strength,” Aubameyang told BT Sport.
“The team showed a lot of character and we deserved the win. It was a hard game. What we showed tonight will be an example for the future.”
United cemented their place in Friday’s draw with a 0-0 draw at home to Real Sociedad, having effectively clinched the tie last week with an emphatic 4-0 win on neutral ground in Italy.
Mikel Oyarzabal’s awful penalty miss represented the best chance at Old Trafford for La Real, while Bruno Fernandes rattled the crossbar and Axel Tuanzebe’s header was disallowed for a foul.
Leicester City, who are behind second-placed United in the Premier League only on goal difference, were knocked out after sliding to a 2-0 loss at home to Czech champions Slavia Prague.
Lukas Provod fired Slavia in front just after half-time following a goalless draw in the first leg, and Senegalese teenager Abdallah Sima ensured the visitors extended their run in the competition.
“We didn’t create enough over two legs. We didn’t defend with any intensity. We gave away two disappointing goals. The better team won,” said Leicester coach Brendan Rodgers.