Man Utd, Sevilla, Celtic March Into Europa League Knockout Stage


Man Utd, Sevilla, Celtic March Into Europa League Knockout Stage

Manchester United, Sevilla and Celtic led a parade of clubs with continental pedigree through to the Europa League knockout stage as they all won to book a ticket to the last-32 on Thursday.

But while 2017 winners United and Sevilla, who claimed three successive Europa League titles between 2014-16, advanced with ease, it was the Scots who provided the drama as a last-gasp Olivier Ntcham goal handed them a 2-1 win at Lazio.

Basel is also into the next stage where the top two in each of the 12 Europa League groups are joined by eight teams dropping out of the Champions League.

All the qualified teams are through with two games to spare.

Celtic, European champions over a half-century ago, advanced from Group E as they came back after conceding an early goal to clinch their first-ever victory on Italian soil, with Frenchman Ntcham elegantly chipping the ball over oncoming goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha deep in stoppage time for the winner.

Munir El Haddadi’s hattrick for Sevilla was supplemented by two from Munas Dabbur in the 5-2 away drubbing of Luxembourg’s Dudelange as the Spaniards kept up their 100% record in Group A after racing into a 4-0 halftime lead.

Teenager Mason Greenwood put Manchester United ahead versus Partizan Belgrade at Old Trafford and a superb individual goal from Anthony Martial doubled the lead before halftime.

Marcus Rashford also fired home a fine goal in the 49th minute to complete a 3-0 victory in Group L.

United are the only team in this season’s Europa League not to have conceded a goal, even if they gave the first-choice goalkeeper David de Gea the day off on his 29th birthday.

Basel’s Fabian Frei scored the winner on the hour mark for the Swiss outfit as they beat visiting Getafe 2-1 to go four points clear in Group C and guarantee a top-two finish.

Paulinho’s first-half double set Braga on the way to a 3-1 home win over 10-man Besiktas to keep them top in Group K where Wolverhampton Wanderers missed a penalty and needed a late Raul Jimenez header to win 1-0 against Slovan Bratislava at Molineux.

PSV Eindhoven missed the chance to put their poor domestic form behind them and also qualify for the last-32 as they let an early lead slip at LASK Linz and eventually lost 4-1.

Sporting now top Group D after a 2-0 win at hapless Rosenborg to reach nine points, two more than LASK and PSV. The Norwegians have lost all four of their group games.

Rangers scored twice in four second-half minutes through Alfredo Morelos and Steven Davis to beat Porto 2-0 at Ibrox in Group G, where they are in second place but level on seven points with Swiss champions Young Boys.

Ghent’s 3-1 upset win at VfL Wolfsburg saw the Belgian side go top in Group I, while Espanyol’s 6-0 home drubbing of nine-man Ludogorets has them on the cusp of qualifying from Group H.

The penultimate round of group games will be played on Nov 28th.