(Europe League) Blues into knockout stage, Gunners through

Sports | 9 Nov 2018 11:15 am

Olivier Giroud ended his drought by scoring the only goal to lead Chelsea to a 1-0 win at BATE Borisov yesterday that clinched a place in the knockout stage of the Europa League with two group games to spare.

Giroud had not scored for Chelsea for six months but he knows what it is like to net against BATE. Last season, the France forward was on target in both games against the Belarusian champion when he played for London rival Arsenal in Europe's second tier competition.

Arsenal also made it through after a 0-0 home draw against Sporting marred by Danny Welbeck's injury. The England striker was carried off on a stretcher after appearing to sustain a serious ankle problem. He needed to receive oxygen before he was taken to hospital.

Zurich reached the next stage, together with Bayer Leverkusen, after the German side won their encounter 1-0. Eintracht Frankfurt beat Apollon Limassol 3-2 to advance, while Lazio beat Marseille 2-1 to march into the next round and eliminate last year's runner-up.

Dinamo Zagreb were another team to progress to the knockout phase after the fourth round of matches. Ten-man Sevilla won 3-2 at Akhisar thanks to a late penalty, but Anderlecht's hopes of going through are over.

PERFECT CHELSEA

Emerson Palmieri crossed from the left in the 53rd minute and Giroud stooped to head in for Chelsea. The France striker was playing against BATE instead of Alvaro Morata, who was rested.

The win extended Chelsea's unbeaten streak this season to 17 games, but the London club were given several scares as BATE hit the woodwork three times.

Chelsea tops Group L with a maximum 12 points. Hungary's Vidi is second on six points after a 1-0 victory over PAOK .

ARSENAL HELD

Arsenal were held to a 0-0 home draw by Sporting, who had Jeremy Mathieu sent off for a professional foul on substitute Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang three minutes from the end.

Aubameyang, who replaced the injured Welbeck in the 30th minute, missed a string of scoring chances.

Arsenal tops Group E with 10 points, three ahead of Sporting. Qarabag joined Vorskla on three points after winning their match 1-0.

BETIS ON TOP

Spanish midfielder Suso curled in a free kick to salvage a 1-1 draw for seven-time European champion AC Milan at Real Betis, who had taken the lead in the 12th minute through Giovani Lo Celso.

Betis tops Group F on eight points, one ahead of Milan and Olympiacos, which thrashed Dudelange 5-1.

LAST-GASP SEVILLA

Ever Banega converted a penalty three minutes from time against Akhisar as he grabbed the winner for Sevilla, the most successful club in Europa League history.

Earlier, Nolito and Luis Muriel gave the Spanish club a 2-0 lead, but Elvis Manu started a comeback for Akhisar in the 52nd, four minutes before Sergi Gomez was sent off. Onur Ayik then equalized for the Turkish side after 78.

Sevilla are tied atop Group J on nine points with Russia's Krasnodar, who beat Standard Liege 2-1.-AP

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