Manchester United and Arsenal storm into semis

UEFA Europa League: Round of 32 match report 2021.

2020-21 UEFA Europa League quarter finals second leg:

Manchester United 2, Granada 0 – Manchester United win 4-0 on aggregate

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Red Devils took a step forward in their bid to reach a first final since 2017 when they brushed aside Granada 2-0 at Old Trafford to set up a semi-final clash with Roma.

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Solksjaer who was able to field a strong side despite the absence of Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay, got the start he wanted when Edinson Cavani finished clinically from Paul Pogba's flicked header in as early as the 6th minute and took the tally to 3-0 following a two-goal victory in the first leg.

Granada sprung to life in response to Cavani's goal with forward Yangel Herrera's header going inches wide on a couple of occasions.

For United, Bruno Fernandes fired narrowly over the crossbar from Nemanja Matic's pass with a speculative volley and Cavani headed wide of the far post a little later. Solksjaer replaced Pogba with Donny van de Beek.

The Dutchman who has played a peripheral role since his arrival at Old Trafford last season, was keen to impress as he came close to extending his side's lead when a ball from Mason Greenwood's barging run fell kindly to him, but his effort failed to trouble rival keeper Rui Silva.

Jesus Vallejo helped United's cause with an own goal in the 90th minute when he sent in a misdirected header from Alex Telles's swinging cross from the left that ended up in the bottom corner.

Granada's only serious attempt in the second half came from a long-range shot from Victor Diaz which David De Gea was able to deal with ease.

United's Thursday night's win was only their second in eleven home games against Spanish opposition which says a lot about Granada's status compared to some other European heavyweights.

United now come up with much tougher opposition in the form of Roma who overcame Ajax 3-2 on aggregate to move to the semis.

Slavia Praha 1, Arsenal 4 – Arsenal win 5-1 on aggregate

Mikel Arteta's Gunners produced one of their finest performances of the season when they blanked Slavia Praha 0-4 away at Eden Arena, Prague and storm into the Final Four on an aggregate of 5-1.

The Gunners playing without the injured Martin Odegaard and key scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (down with malaria), almost went ahead in the 15th minute when Emile Smith-Rowe tapped in off a rebound from a Bukayo Saka shot but a VAR check ruled the goal out.

Arsenal barely had to wait for three minutes after that for their opener as Nicolas Pepe squeezed in a shot to the roof of the net at the near post in the 18th minute. Alexandre Lacazette converted a penalty in the 21st minute following a foul on Saka by Slavia midfielder Jakub Hromada inside the box as the visitors quickly went 2-0 up.

Saka added a third for the Gunners shortly after on 24 minutes when he picked up the ball on the right flank, cut inside to his left foot and scored at the near post with a blistering finish, beating Slavia keeper Ondrej Kolar all ends up.
The second half was a much more sedate affair with Lacazette netting his second of the night in the 77th minute from a quick-fire Arsenal counterattack to put his side 4-0 up and a crushing 5-1 on aggregate.

The result means Arsenal will face Villarreal who beat Dinamo Zagreb 3-1 on aggregate in another quarterfinal tie on the same night.

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