Seven goal thrillers, penalties in the eighth minute of added time, VAR controversies and sixteen fixtures worth of action… it can only be the Europa League!
UEFA’s thursday night competition hosted another night of thrilling football action to get fans on the edge of their seats – and it did not disappoint.
Here is the round up of everything that you may have missed in the Europa League.
Rangers Thrilling Encounter with Antwerp
Steven Gerrard’s Rangers travelled to face Belgian side Royal Antwerp for their first leg of their round of 32 clash.
Antwerp may have drawn comparisons from another Scottish side before the game, as they found themselves out of the title race for the Belgian Pro League by a vast margin and had only won 2 out of their last 5 games.
However, they still tackled this game against the Scottish Premiership Leaders with ambition and determination, as they fought back from 1-0 down to end the first half leading the Light Blues 2-1 through a controversial penalty.
The referee, who was not a favourite with the Govan faithful during the tie, pointed to the spot after Steven Davis challenged Rafaelov in the box in the seventh minute of injury time.
The drama would not stop there though, as Rangers would score again through a stunning solo strike from Ryan Kent in the second half following a Rangers penalty scored by Barisic – only for Antwerp to take the lead again through Hongla.
With the game locked at 3-3 it looked as if Rangers would have to take it back to Ibrox level, however Borna Barisic dispatched a penalty in the final minute of the game to seal a dramatic win for Steven Gerrard’s Rangers.
It finished 3-4 to the visitors after an end to end affair which kept Ally McCoist at the edge of his seat the entire time in the BT Sport studio.
Disappointing Gunners Draw in Rome
Contrasted to the thrilling tie in Antwerp – Arsenal had to settle for a draw against a well organised Benfica side at the Olympic Stadium in Rome.
Arsenal looked the better side in the opening stages of the game as the clearest opportunity in the game went begging.
New signing Martin Odegaard slipped in Bellerin on the right hand side who fizzed in a great low cross for an in-form Aubameyang but he put the ball wide of the post when it looked harder to miss.
The Gabonese striker did not look himself the entire game as he spurned a number of chances throughout the game before he was substituted.
The game would remain cagey with The Gunners having the majority of possession, as Benfica looked to remain solid with a five defender formation.
The breakthrough came in the second half for Benfica, as Emile Smith-Rowe was judged to have used his hand to block an incoming cross from the right – and Pizzi cooly scored from the spot.
This seemed to act as a wake up call for Arsenal as they’d soon be back in the game through their golden boy Bukayo Saka.
Just before he was substituted, Cedric played in another low cross and Saka got beyond the static Benfica defence and slotted home to take an away goal to the second leg.
The only other good news for the North London side was the return of Kieran Tierney who made a sub appearance and looked energetic when he came on.
Routine Win for High-Flying Red Devils
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer continued his side’s good run in Europe with a 4-0 drubbing of Real Sociedad in Turin.
The Mancunians started the game brightly as they had a number of opportunities in front of goal.
Rashford, not unlike Aubemayang in the other fixture, just could not get the ball into the back of the net, despite a handful of great chances.
However the flood gates would eventually open for Fernandes who chased a ball over the top, as the goalkeeper had a moment to forget when he clashed with his two defenders, which left the ball open for Fernandes to place the ball into an empty net.
The rout would continue with another goal from Bruno Fernandes, while Rashford would eventually get the goal his hard work deserved and the tie would be sealed by a last minute effort by Daniel James.
Tottenham Triumph over Wolfsberger
Jose Mourinho managed to relieve some of the pressure off of his struggling Spurs side as they boasted an excellent 4-1 win over Wolfsberger AC.
Gareth Bale finally managed to get his Spurs career kick started as he crossed for Heung-Min Son for the opening goal to be headed in.
He would also get himself on the scoresheet to double their advantage, with Lucas Moura piling on the misery to make the score 3-0 before the half time whistle.
The Austrian side would pull one back through a penalty scored by Liendl but the celebrations were short lived as Vinicius would complete the rout for Tottenham.
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