Manchester United continued their dominance while the likes of Ajax and Arsenal stuttered in what was a riveting Europa League game week. With Europe's second-tier club competition being the only hope in terms of silverware and Champions League for many teams, the competition witnessed some breathtaking action and some shock results in their first leg of the quarter-finals. Here are the Europa League results and highlights from games played on April 8th.
Manchester United are the favourites to lift the title this season and made light work of Granada on their trip to Spain. Marcus Rashford opened the scoring to mark his second consecutive season of scoring 20 goals or more. Playing a full-strength side, Solskjaer's Red Devils were put under pressure by the hosts but sealed the tie professionally after Bruno Fernandes made it 2-0 from the spot, making it to the Granada vs Manchester United highlights. Man United have not won a trophy since their 2017 Europa League, and are most likely to make it to the semi-final of the competition for the second consecutive season, with two away goals in their belt.
The Europa League is Arsenal's best shot at salvaging what has been a disappointing season so far, but Mikel Arteta's side got off on the wrong foot in the Arsenal vs Slavia Prague quarter-final first leg. In a rather dull affair at the Emirates, it took 86 minutes for the Gunners to get on the scoresheet, with Nicolas Pepe scoring through for a smart dinked finish over Ondrej Kolar. Arteta would have been pleased to take a 1-0 lead back to Prague next week, but his hopes were dealt a cruel blow after Tomas Holes had powered in a header at the far post to make it 1-1 in the 93rd minute. The Gunners have their work out with Slavia now holding the keys to the fixture ahead of the return leg.
Not the result we were looking for tonight.— Arsenal (@Arsenal) April 8, 2021
ð´ 1-1 â«ï¸ (FT)
In one of the crucial Europa League results, AS Roma are the only Italian team left in Europe this season and the Giallorossi have one foot on the door to the semi-finals after their 2-1 against Ajax at the Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam. Davy Klassen opened the scoring for the hosts after they sustained pressure from the visitors, in a closely fought first half. Ajax had the chance to go 2-0 up from the spot, but Dusan Tadic fired his penalty straight at Pau Lopez in a crucial moment.
Minutes later, Roma stepped up their game with Lorenzo Pellegrini scoring the all-important equaliser, setting up an exciting last half hour of play. Both teams tested the opposition multiple times, before Roger Ibanez slamming home a brilliant strike to give his team a 2-1 win. The defender's goal could be crucial in the scheme of things for Roma, with Ajax now having to overcome a two-away goal deficit on their trip to Rome next week.
#UEL | 0-1 | â±ï¸ 90'+3' | FULL-TIME.— Villarreal CF English (@Eng_Villarreal) April 8, 2021
The Yellows win the first leg of the @EuropaLeague quarter-final against @gnkdinamo.@GerardMoreno9's penalty will give the Submarine a one-goal lead going into next Thursday's second leg at La Cerámica. pic.twitter.com/9HZnnStFgK
In other UEL results, Spanish side Villarreal clinched a narrow 1-0 win on their trip to Dinamo Zagreb in the first leg of the Europa League quarter-final. Gerard Moreno scored from the spot as he continued his fine form with the only goal of the game to give Unai Emery's side the advantage when they return home next week. Dinamo are no mean feat having knocked out challenges Tottenham last time out, but their attack was kept at bay by a resolute defence, aided by Moreno's ability from the spot. It will be difficult for Dinamo to turn things around in Spain, but the same was said before they managed to overturn a 2-0 deficit against Spurs.