Arsenal And Chelsea March Into Europa Last-16


Arsenal and Chelsea put patchy domestic form behind them to reach the Europa League last 16 and they were joined by fellow big guns from Italy on a night of rip-roaring action in the continent’s second-tier competition on Thursday.

Arsenal beat BATE Borisov 3-0 after a 1-0 first-leg defeat by the Belarus champions while Chelsea took some of the pressure off coach Maurizio Sarri with a 3-0 home defeat of Malmo which gave them a 5-1 aggregate win over the Swedish side.
Eintracht Frankfurt beat Shakhtar Donetsk 4-1 to earn a 6-3 overall victory and Napoli, winners of the Uefa Cup in 1989, had no problems beating FC Zurich 2-0 at home to advance 5-1 on aggregate.
Inter Milan, the winners of three European Cup and Uefa Cup titles apiece, also strolled through with a 4-0 home win over Rapid Vienna which completed a 5-0 dismissal.
Salzburg were the other big winners as their 4-0 home rout of Club Bruges gave the Austrian side a 5-2 aggregate win while two goals from Iran forward Sardar Azmoun handed Zenit St Petersburg a 3-2 overall success against Fenerbahce.
Rattled by embarrassing domestic defeats, Chelsea looked jittery before Olivier Giroud settled their nerves with a close range tap-in shortly after halftime at Stamford Bridge following good work by N’Golo Kante and Willian in the build-up.
Malmo had central defender Magnus Bengtsson sent off in the 73rd minute for a second bookable offence, moments before Ross Barkley curled in a delightful freekick from 20 metres.
Callum Hudson-Odoi put the icing on the cake in the closing stages with a fierce low shot from inside the penalty area, boosting Chelsea’s confidence ahead of Sunday’s clash with Manchester City in the League Cup final at Wembley.
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