The Europa League semifinals are set. Four teams remain standing after Thursday’s quarterfinal action. Below, theScore rounds up how the second-leg fixtures unfolded.
Roma 1-1 Ajax – Roma win 3-2 on agg.
Ajax made things very interesting but ultimately came up just short in their bid to overturn a 2-1 deficit from the first leg against Roma. The Dutch side took the lead at the Stadio Olimpico on Thursday through substitute Brian Brobbey, and shortly after, the club appeared to grab the second goal needed to move on when Dusan Tadic slid a rebound home. But Tadic’s marker was ruled out after video review spotted a foul in the buildup to the goal.
Roma settled down after that scare, and Edin Dzeko scored from close range in the 72nd minute to ensure that the Italian side reached the semifinals of a European competition for the second time in four seasons.
Manchester United 2-0 Granada – United win 4-0 on agg.
An early goal from Edinson Cavani provided Manchester United with more than enough cushion to ride out the remainder of Thursday’s contest at Old Trafford. Already leading Granada 2-0 on aggregate from the opening leg, the Red Devils solidified that advantage in the sixth minute when the Uruguayan striker, after a flicked header from Paul Pogba, connected with a sweet volley from inside the penalty area. An own goal from Jesus Vallejo in the waning seconds rounded out the scoring.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men scored three goals from their first four shots on target in the tie.
Manchester United, Europa League semifinalists last year, return to the final four of the competition aiming to replicate the success they enjoyed in 2017 when they hoisted the trophy after beating Ajax.
Arsenal 4-0 Slavia Prague – Arsenal win 5-1 on agg.
Despite missing captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and creative midfielder Martin Odegaard, Arsenal came out flying Thursday, scoring three goals inside a whirlwind opening 30 minutes to bury Slavia Prague at the Eden Arena. Nicolas Pepe got the party started in the 18th minute. Alexandre Lacazette and Bukayo Saka then found the net in quick succession, giving the Gunners an insurmountable 4-1 advantage on aggregate by the time the 24th minute rolled around. Lacazette added another in the second half.
Emile Smith Rowe, who was an injury doubt in the days leading up to the match, dazzled throughout. The 20-year-old set up Pepe’s opener with some impressive close control and vision, and he linked up well with Saka all game.
Much of the talk ahead of the match centered on Slavia defender Ondrej Kudela, who was banned 10 matches for racial abuse of Rangers’ Glen Kamara earlier in the tournament. Prior to kickoff, the Arsenal players took a knee, with Lacazette doing so in front of the standing Slavia team.
Villarreal 2-1 Dinamo Zagreb – Villarreal win 3-1 on agg.
It may not be Sevilla this time around, but there will be a Spanish presence in the semifinals of the Europa League once again. Villarreal booked their place in the final four with a victory over Dinamo Zagreb. Paco Alcacer and the red-hot Gerard Moreno scored seven minutes apart in the first half to establish a commanding 3-0 aggregate advantage. The latter has now racked up 17 goals in his last 17 club matches across all competitions.
Mislav Orsic, who scored a sensational hat-trick in the previous round to eliminate Tottenham Hotspur, grabbed a consolation marker for the Croatian club in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to inspire a late comeback.
With the quarterfinals complete, here’s how the next round shapes up:
- Manchester United vs. Roma
- Arsenal vs. Villarreal
In arguably the most intriguing storyline of the round, the latter tie will pit Villarreal boss Unai Emery against his former team.
The semifinal matches will be played April 29 and May 6. This season’s Europa League final is slated for May 26 at the Gdansk Stadium in Poland.