Manchester United beat Granada 2-0 in the first leg of the Europa League quarter-final in Spain on Thursday, while Arsenal conceded the injury time tie in a 1-1 draw at home to Czech champion Slavia Prague.
Marcus Rashford exploded on a long ball sprayed on the field by Victor Lindelof to shoot United ahead at Los Cármenes in the 31st minute against a team with their first superb European appearance.
Bruno Fernández converted a late penalty after Jan Etiqui did it from the penalty spot, with the Portuguese midfielder’s penalty through the hands of Roy Silva.
“He (Rashford and Fernandez) were exceptional, very important to us,” United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told BT Sport.
“It was a very good operation from Rashford, he took the ball in a fantastic way. Bruno is very confident in the penalty shoot-out despite the fact that the goalkeeper almost saved him ”.
But Solshire will miss the suspended trio of captain Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Scott Maktominay in the second leg at Old Trafford next week.
“It was not a perfect night.” “We got three yellow cards and three suspensions. The 2-0 is a very good result. We know how difficult it is to get to Spain ”, he added.
Yangel Herrera came to Granada when Spanish international David De Gea kept a clean sheet in his first appearance for United since late February.
– Arsenal stumbles at home –
Arsenal’s low level in the league with Mikel Arteta left Arsenal with the European League as their only hope this year, but the 2019 runners-up were denied a win over the Emirates after a 94-minute header from Thomas Halls.
Nicolas Pepe came off the bench to give Arsenal the lead four minutes before the end, but Halls nodded from a corner kick and extended Slavia’s unbeaten streak to 22 games, having eliminated Leicester City and Rangers.
“The end result leaves a harsh aftertaste,” Arteta said.
“The party was under control. We made the goal we wanted, but we also wasted some important chances.
“We played two or three balls that we shouldn’t play and we went back and took the corner. We put bodies there and it can happen. That changes the feeling after the game.
Roma, the only Italian club left in Europe this season, turned from behind to defeat four-time European champions Ajax 2-1 in Amsterdam.
Davy Klasen gave Ajax a lead shortly before the end of the first half, but Dusan Tadic’s missed penalty marked a turning point when Roma goalkeeper Pau López banished the Serbian effort moments before the visitors draw.
Lorenzo Pellegrini’s free kick in the 57th minute missed Ajax goalkeeper Kjell Sherpen’s hand and Roger Ibáñez won the match for Roma late to hit a good ball.
Unai Emery’s Villarreal defeated Dynamo Zagreb in Croatia, where a Gerrard Moreno penalty ensured the 1-0 victory before the first half.
Emery won the European League three years in a row with Sevilla and led Arsenal to the 2019 final.
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