Nigerian international winger Ahmed Musa scored for CSKA Moscow in a surprise 3-2 away win over Olympic Lyonnais in France which secured the Russians’ passage into the Quarter finals of the Europa League on a night in which Arsenal, Atlético Madrid, Marseille, Lazio and Sporting Lisbon all advanced.
The Militerians who lost 0-1 at home knew only a win in France would see them pull through, and they took the lead six minutes from halftime through Aleksandr Golovin’s shot which found the top corner. Although Lyon equalised on 56 minutes, Musa restored CSKA’s lead two minutes later when he converted a Kirill Nababkin cross at the far post. The lead was extended five minutes later via Swedish defensive midfielder Pontus Wernbloom’s shot following a corner kick. Lyon pulled one back through Mariano Diaz on 71 minutes but there was to be no comeback as CSKA held on to ensure Russia will be represented in the quarter final draw via the away goals rule.
In London, a Jack Wilshere-inspired Arsenal came from a goal down to earn a 3-1 win at the Emirates stadium. Hakan Calhanoglu put Milan ahead on 35 minutes after his swirling shot from 30 yards found the far corner to give Gennaro Gattuso’s men hope of an unlikely comeback.
However, a blatant dive by Danny Welbeck to win a penalty three minutes later would drown the Milanese’s spirit. The former Manchester United forward slotted coolly to preserve Arsenal’s aggregate lead. Milan were creating the better chances but could not capitalise, and the Gunners made the Rossoneri pay. Goalkeeper Donnarumma pushed a Granit Xhaka’s shot from distance into his net to gift Arsenal the lead, while a Danny Welbeck rebound from Ramsey’s saved header put the game to bed and ensured the North London club’s qualification with a 5-1 aggregate win.
In Russia, Atlético Madrid defied the weather to consign Russian League leaders Lokomotiv Moscow to a 5-1 defeat and qualify 8-1 on aggregate. Rojibloncos coach Diego Simeone started Antoine Griezmann on the bench for Fernando Torres to earn some game time and the 33-year old former Liverpool and Chelsea striker responded with a brace of goals. French striker Griezmann came on as a substitute, won a penalty which Torres converted and scored with a delicate chip to round off scoring on a night Atlético strolled into the next round.
A brave Lazio side scored in both halves to win 2-0 at Dynamo Kiev in Ukraine and advanced 4-2 on aggregate after the 2-2 first leg draw in Italy. Veteran Lucas Leiva and Stefan De Vrij’s goals ensured the Rome outfit preserved Italy’s presence in the competition.
Dimitri Payet starred again as Olympic Marseille completed a clean sweep of both legs, winning 2-1 in Spain to go through at the expense of Athletic Bilbao 5-1 on aggregate. The former West Ham fans favourite opened scoring from the spot while Lucas Ocampos added the second.
In the Surprise result of the round, Austria’s Red Bull Salzburg made history as the first Austrian club ever to qualify for the Europa League last eight. The Austrian League leaders dominated their German opponent and one of the tournament favourites, Borussia Dortmund, but were held to a 0-0 draw to see out the tie 2-1 on aggregate. Die Schwarzgelben were poor in attack and had keeper Roman Burki to thank for keeping the scoreline goalless, a result which consigned the former Champions League finalists to a trophyless season.
The Quarter finals draw will be conducted in Nyon, Switzerland on Friday afternoon. The winner of the competition will be rewarded with an automatic qualification into the group stage of next season’s UEFA Champions League.
EUROPA LEAGUE ROUND OF 16 RESULTS
Lokomotiv Moscow (0)* 1-5 (3)* Atlético Madrid (1-8 aggregate, Atlético advance)
Athletic Bilbao (1) 1-2 (3) Olympic Marseille (2-5 aggregate, Marseille advance)
Dynamo Kiev (2) 0-2 (2) S.S.S. Lazio (2-4 aggregate, Lazio advance)
Zenith (1) 1-1 (2) Red Bull Leipzig (2-3 aggregate, RB Leipzig advance)
Viktoria Plzeň (0) 2-1 after Extra time (2) Sporting CP (2-3 on aggregate, Sporting CP advance)
Olympic Lyonnais (1) 2-3 (0) CSKA Moscow (3-3 on aggregate, CSKA advance on away goals rule)
Red Bull Salzburg (2) 0-0 (1) Borussia Dortmund (2-1 on aggregate, Salzburg advance)
Arsenal (2) 3-1 (0) AC Milan (5-1 on aggregate, Arsenal advance)
*First leg scores