Europa League Roundup: Man United draws away, Ajax takes lead
The Europa League quarterfinals are under way, and all eight teams took part in the first leg on Thursday afternoon.
Manchester United will be disappointed with its effort as they wasted a lead and slumped to a 1-1 draw. The Red Devils grabbed the lead and vital away goal on a rebounded strike from Henrikh Mkhitaryan who slammed home from a tight angle after Marcus Rashford’s initial effort was parried away. They held on defensively until just four minutes remaining when 21-year-old Leander Dendoncker thundered a header into the back of the net to draw level.
Rashford was bright throughout the first half, providing the best attacking threat for the visitors in Belgium. Anderlecht, meanwhile, was wasteful, failing to produce a shot on target until Dendoncker’s strike. United was slightly unlucky to pick up just the one away goal, as Anderlecht goalkeeper Ruben made a number of exceptional saves. That left the door open for Anderlecht who
Elsewhere, Ajax built an early lead and hung on as the Dutch giants won 2-0 over German side Schalke. Davy Klaassen picked up a pair as he scored from the spot in the first half, when Amin Younes burst into the box and was sandwiched by Thilo Kehrer and Alessandro Schopf. He picked up his second soon after halftime on a cross from Justin Kluivert, and the completely unmarked 24-year-old smashed home on the volley from near the penalty spot.
The start of Besiktas and Lyon was delayed considerably after supporter unrest marred the start of the game. Fireworks and other objects rained down from the visiting Besiktas supporters who were situated on the upper tier, which forced home fans to seek refuge on the pitch.
The match finally got under way about 35 minutes after planned, and it sure did deliver. The visitors picked up an away goal on a 15th minute strike by Ryan Babel. They maintained that 1-0 lead through halftime and up to the hour mark, but Lyon grabbed a last-gasp win thanks to an 83rd minute equalizer from Corentin Tolisso as a free-kick squirted through the pack for the midfielder to poke home. The French side picked up the winner just a minute later via Jeremy Morel, thanks to a horrific mistake from Besiktas goalkeeper Fabricio, who tried to dribble away under pressure from three Lyon attackers, and with no help from his defense, Fabricio coughed it up to Morel right in front of net.
Finally, Celta Vigo won a wild one 3-2 at home over Racing Genk. The opening 20 minutes saw three goals, with the Spaniards bagging a pair through Pione Sisto and Iago Aspas, while the visiting Belgians got one back via the head of Jean-Paul Boetius. Former Manchester City striker John Guidetti put Celta 3-1 up with a quality low strike before halftime, but Genk will be satisfied with a pair of away goals as Thomas Buffel followed up his own saved effort with a header into the back of the net to make it 3-2 in the 67th minute.