Arsenal, Frankfurt, Roma, Rangers advance in Europa League
ABS-CBN Sports on Dec 13, 2019 07:52 AM
Arsenal's Bukayo Saka, Joe Willock and Emile Smith Rowe, from right, celebrate a goal during the Europa League group F soccer match between Standard Liege and Arsenal at the Maurice Dufrasne stadium in Liege, Belgium, Thursday, Dec, 12, 2019. Saka scored once and the match ended in a 2-2 draw. (AP Photo/Francois Walschaerts)
By Karel Janicek, Associated Press
Teenager Bukayo Saka scored one goal and set up another to secure a 2-2 draw for Arsenal at Standard Liege on Thursday and lead the Gunners into the next stage of the Europa League.
The result meant Arsenal finished top of Group F ahead of Eintracht Frankfurt, which gave up a late lead to lose 3-2 at home to Vitoria.
However, Bundesliga leader Borussia Mönchengladbach surprisingly went out after after a 2-1 loss to Istanbul Basaksehir, with Enzo Crivelli scoring in injury time to complete a comeback victory and send the Turkish side into the knockout stages.
Porto, Rangers, Roma, Ludogorets, Malmo, Copenhagen, Getafe and Cluj also qualified for the knockout rounds in Europe's second-tier competition on the final night of group-stage matches.
Malmo won Group B with with a 1-0 away victory at Copenhagen, which still joined the Swedish side in the next round.
Getafe needed at least a draw from the last game against Krasnodar to advance from Group C and cruised to a 3-0 victory. Cluj advanced from Group E thanks to a 2-0 victory over group winner Celtic.
A 1-1 draw with Ferencvaros sent Ludogorets to the next phase from Group H.
Manchester United and Sevilla were among 13 teams to have already clinched a spot in the round of 32. The eight third-place finishes in the Champions League — including Ajax, Benfica and Inter Milan — will also enter the competition at that stage.
The draw for the round of 32 is scheduled for Monday.
Man United won Group L after a 4-0 rout of second-place AZ Alkmaar, with all four goals coming in an 11-minute span. Mason Greenwood scored twice after Ashley Young had given United the lead, and Juan Mata converted a penalty.
Five-time champion Sevilla failed to maintain its perfect record after losing the last game 1-0 to APOEL in Group A.
Austria's LASK defeated 10-man Sporting 3-0 to top Group D .
Arsenal coach Freddie Ljungberg made nine changes to his lineup from a 3-1 win at at West Ham United on Monday in the Premier League. That victory ended a nine-match winless streak, the club's worst run for 42 years.
After struggling in the first half, Arsenal was 1-0 down two minutes into the second half. Samuel Bastien's shot from outside the area was deflected off defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos to beat goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez.
Selim Amallah doubled the lead for the hosts in the 69th with another deflected shot as Arsenal looked vulnerable at the back and lacked creativity in the middle.
But the second goal served as a wake-up call for Arsenal with Saka leading the rally.
The forward produced a perfect cross for Alexandre Lacazette in the 78th to head in from close range before curling in a shot from the edge of the area three minutes later.
Arsenal won the group with 11 points, two more than Frankfurt.
Italian club Lazio had to beat Rennes and hope Celtic defeated Cluj to have a chance of advancing, but the opposite scenario unfolded. Lazio lost 2-0 after Joris Gnagnon scored twice for Rennes, giving the French team its first win of the campaign.
Borussia Mönchengladbach is the surprise leader in the Bundesliga but had to settle for the third place in Group J. The German team took the through Marcus Thuram, who tapped in from close range in the 33rd minute for his 10th goal of the season.
But Istanbul Basaksehir equalized against the run of play, capitalizing on a blunder by goalkeeper Yann Sommer who was taken by surprise by a long-distance attempt by Irfan Can Kahveci a minute before halftime.
And Crivelli completed the upset from close range in injury time, putting Istanbul in first place in Group J on 10 points. Roma finished second, a point back after a 2-2 draw with Wolfsberg. Mönchengladbach was another point behind.
Group G was the most tightly contested, with all four teams in position to advance going into the final round. Two-time European champion Porto clinched first place with a 3-2 win over Feyenoord. Rangers finished second after being held to a 1-1 draw by Young Boys. Alfredo Morelos scored in the first half at Ibrox Stadium before Borna Barisic equalized with an own goal a minute from time.