Having lost the Carabao Cup final to Manchester City and on a run of four successive defeats, including a 2-1 Premier League reverse at Brighton last weekend, Arsenal temporarily saved its season after taking a sensational 2-0 first-leg lead over AC Milan in their Europa League last-16 clash at the San Siro, reports uk.sports.yahoo.com.
Arsene Wenger’s side headed to Italy on the back of four consecutive defeats in all competitions but will be favourites to progress to the quarter-finals after a commanding win. AC Milan started strongly and might have gone ahead in the opening minutes, but Giacomo Bonaventura could not quite get a touch on Patrick Cutrone’s cross.
Hakan Calhanoglu also had a sight of goal on 13 minutes when he was sent clean through on goal. Goalkeeper David Ospina came rushing out, and the midfielder managed to hurdle his challenge only to see the ball run out of play.
Two minutes later, Arsenal took the lead as Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s deflected shot beat goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma. The strike was the Armenian’s first for Arsenal and the first time the Milan defence had been breached for quite a while.
Mkhitaryan almost scored a similar strike just before half-time, but this time his effort just grazed the crossbar before flying out of play. However, Arsenal did not have to wait too long to double their lead as Aaron Ramsey ensured they went in at the interval 2-0 up.
Mesut Ozil was the creator for the Gunners, slipping the ball through to the Welshman who rounded Donnarumma before slipping the ball into an empty net.
Arsenal were less adventurous after the break and managed to see the game out comfortably. They also come away with a valuable clean sheet to give them a big advantage ahead of the second leg at the Etihad Stadium.
The result is a big boost to Arsenal after a poor spell and will raise hopes they can enjoy success in this competition. The tournament represents their best chance of securing Champions League football for next season, but they will have to go all the way to achieve that prize.
Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid are one of the strongest teams left in the competition and showed their class with a comprehensive victory. The hosts opened the scoring in spectacular style as Saul Niguez fired a fierce strike into the top corner from range midway through the first half.
Diego Costa added a second shortly after half-time, and Koke then sealed the win in stoppage time.
Atletico are really hitting top form as the season reaches its climax, and this result may allow them to rotate and rest players for the second leg in Russia.
Borussia Dortmund will not have that luxury as two goals from Red Bull Salzburg’s Valon Berisha dented their hopes of qualification. The visitors took the lead from the penalty spot and then grabbed a second seven minutes later.
The hosts did manage to halve the deficit through Andre Schurrle as he bundled home substitute Christian Pulisic’s cross. The goal keeps the tie alive, but Dortmund will have to improve quickly if they are to turn this one around.
Here’s a look at all Thursday’s results and a recap of the best of the action.
Thursday’s Europa League results
Atletico Madrid 3-0 Lokomotiv Moscow
Borussia Dortmund 1-2 FC Red Bull Salzburg
CSKA Moscow 0-1 Lyon
AC Milan 0-2 Arsenal
Lazio 2-2 Dynamo Kiev
Marseille 3-1 Athletic Bilbao
RB Leipzig 2-1 Zenit St Petersbug
Sporting Lisbon 2-0 Viktoria Plzen