Utd, Arsenal in Europa quarters; Spurs’ ouster pains Mourinho - GulfToday

Utd, Arsenal in Europa quarters; Spurs’ ouster pains Mourinho

Manchester United

Manchester United’s Paul Pogba scores against AC Milan during their Europa League round of 16 second leg match at the San Siro in Milan on Thursday. Reuters

Paul Pogba scored the winner on his return from injury as Manchester United beat AC Milan 1-0 on Thursday to join Arsenal in the Europa League quarter-finals, while Dinamo Zagreb knocked out Tottenham Hotspur after extra time in Croatia.

The France midfielder struck the only goal at the San Siro four minutes after replacing Marcus Rashford as a half-time substitute, scooping home after an ugly scramble inside the Milan area.

United goalkeeper Dean Henderson produced an excellent reflex save to deny Zlatan Ibrahimovic an equaliser against his old club and secure a 2-1 aggregate victory for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team.

The three-time European champions are one of two English clubs in Friday’s draw for the last eight, as Arsenal also qualified despite suffering a 1-0 loss to Olympiakos in the second leg.

Youssef El-Arabi’s deflected second-half strike earned Olympiakos another victory at the Emirates but Arsenal advanced 3-2 on aggregate, avenging their exit to the Greeks on away goals last season.

Jose Mourinho’s Spurs crashed out of the competition after surrendering a 2-0 lead from the first leg, with Mislav Orsic scoring a brilliant hat-trick for Croatian champions.

Orsic curled in a marvellous shot from the corner of the area to give Dinamo the lead on 62 minutes and then capped off a fine move with a thumping finish to send the match to extra time.

Orsic completed his treble in style as he ran past three players and hammered a low drive beyond Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris from the edge of area on 106 minutes.

Harry Kane nearly snatched a late goal that would have put Spurs through on away goals but his effort was clawed out by Dinamo goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic as the hosts won 3-2 on aggregate.

9-MAN RANGERS LOSE: Steven Gerrard’s Rangers finished with nine men in a 2-0 home loss to Slavia Prague, as the Czech side won 3-1 on aggregate.

Ajax made sure of their passage into the next round as a David Neres goal and Dusan Tadic penalty rounded off a 5-0 aggregate win over Young Boys.

Gerard Moreno’s double in Spain gave Villarreal a second 2-0 victory over Dynamo Kiev in as many weeks, while Granada extended their European debut, going through 3-2 overall, despite a 2-1 loss to Norway’s Molde in Budapest.

Roma also progressed as a 2-1 victory courtesy of two goals from Real Madrid loanee Borja Mayoral against Shakhtar Donetsk in Kiev wrapped up a 5-1 win on aggregate.

SPURS’ MOURINHO FEELS ANGST: Meanwhile, Mourinho said he has never experienced a similar feeling to the pain of crashing out of the Europa League to Dinamo Zagreb on Thursday.

Mourinho turned on his players’ attitude after the match, while Tottenham captain Hugo Lloris branded the result a “disgrace”.

“Honestly I don’t believe (I had) a similar feeling,” said Mourinho when asked if it was his worst European exit.

“I had in Europe moments of big pain but pain caused by what football is. I lost two Champions League semi-finals on penalties. It hurts you. (I’m) maybe still bleeding.

“But the passion for football, the respect for your job is something that hurts me deeply. And I have this very bad feeling. This very bad feeling because maybe for some people in football, football is a job or a way to make money.

“For me, it’s much more than that. That’s what I never lose - this basics of football, which is the passion, the heart, the desire. I feel very, very hurt that I cannot find more words to describe it.”

Mourinho’s future at Tottenham is now in doubt with a return to the Champions League next season looking unlikely.

Spurs are eighth in the Premier League, six points adrift of the top four, although they do have a game in hand away to Aston Villa on Sunday.

Mourinho also has one other chance to save his first full season in charge when Tottenham face runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City in the League Cup final next month.

UTD FACE GRANADA IN QUARTERS: United were paired with Spanish side Granada in Friday’s draw for the quarter-finals of the Europa League, while Arsenal will take on Slavia Prague.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United, who beat AC Milan in the last 16, are due to play away in the first leg on April 8 but it remains to be seen where that match will take place.

The Old Trafford club faced Spanish opponents in Real Sociedad in the last 32 but the first leg of that tie was moved to Turin in Italy because of restrictions on travel from the UK to Spain as a result of the pandemic.

Draw for the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the Europa League:

Quarter-finals: Granada (ESP) vs Manchester United (ENG); Arsenal (ENG) vs Slavia Prague (CZE); Ajax (NED) vs Roma (ITA); Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) vs Villarreal (ESP); First legs Apr.8, second legs Apr.15

Semi-finals: Granada (ESP) or Manchester United (ENG) vs Ajax (NED) or Roma (ITA); Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) or Villarreal (ESP) vs Arsenal (ENG) or Slavia Prague (CZE); First legs Apr.29, second legs May 6; Final in Gdansk, Poland on May 26

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