Manchester United defeated Spanish club Granada 2-0 in the first leg of the Europa League quarter-final in Spain on Thursday, while Arsenal conceded a stoppage time equalizer in a 1-1 draw at home to Czech champions Slavia Prague.
Marcus Rashford competed on a long ball that Victor Lindelof sprayed up in the field to shoot United in front in Los Carmenes in 31 minutes against a team that enjoyed a brilliant debut European campaign.
Bruno Fernandes converted a late penalty after being caught by the ball by Yan Eteki, with the Portuguese midfielder’s spot-kick tormenting painfully through the hands of Rui Silva.
“They (Rashford and Fernandes) have been exceptional, so important to us,” United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær told BT Sport.
“It was a very good run by Rashford, takes the ball fantastically. Bruno is so confident of penalties even if the goalkeeper almost saved it. ”
Sunshine, however, will be without the suspended trio of captain Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay for the second round at Old Trafford next week.
“It was not a perfect night,” he added. “We received three yellow cards and three suspensions. 2-0 is a very good result. We know how difficult it is to get to Spain. ”
Yangel Herrera volleyed towards the post for Granada as the Spanish international David de Gea kept a zero at his first appearance for United since the end of February.
Arsenal stumbles at home
Arsenal’s poor league form under Mikel Arteta has left the Gunners with the Europa League as their only hope for silverware this year, but the 2019 place was denied victory in the Emirates after a 94th minute header by Tomas Holes.
Nicolas Pepe had come off the bench to give Arsenal the lead four minutes from time, only for Holes to nod into a corner and extend Slavia’s unbeaten run to 22 games, after already beating Leicester City and Rangers.
“The end result leaves a difficult taste,” says Arteta.
“The game was under control. We got the goal we wanted but also missed some great chances.
“We played two or three balls that we should not do and we sat on the back foot and let in the corner. They put bodies in there and it can happen. It changes the feeling after the match. ”
Roma, the only Italian club left in Europe this season, came from behind to take down four-time European champions Ajax 2-1 in Amsterdam.
Davy Klaassen gave Ajax the lead just before half-time, but Dusan Tadic’s missed penalty showed the turning point when Roma goalkeeper Pau Lopez turned away Serbia’s effort moments before the visitors leveled.
Lorenzo Pellegrini’s free kick 57 minutes into the match seemed wasted, as the shot was both short and off target. But was this actually a plan? The ball landed at the feet of Roger Ibanez, who was completely unmarked in the box.
Unai Emerys Villarreal got better over Dinamo Zagreb in Croatia, as Gerard Moreno’s penalty just before the interval ensured a 1-0 victory.
Emery won the Europa League for three years in a row with Sevilla and took Arsenal to the final in 2019.