HomeSportsEuropa League: Manchester United thrash Betis, Arsenal held by Sporting

Europa League: Manchester United thrash Betis, Arsenal held by Sporting

Manchester United gave a perfect response to the humiliation of Sunday by thrashing Real Betis 4-1 in the Europa League.

While Arsenal fought back to earn a 2-2 draw in an action-packed Europa League last-16 first leg at Sporting.

Goals from Rashford, Antony, Fernandes, and Wout Weghorst gave United a 4-1 win before next week’s second leg in Spain.

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Ten Hag sent out the same team that disgraced themselves at Anfield to win back some faith at Old Trafford.

United did struggle at times against Betis and was lucky to go in at half-time level after Ayoze Perez, who had already canceled out Rashford’s opener, hit the post with David De Gea beaten.

We played a very good game in both halves and by half-time, we should have been up 3-0. But then it’s 1-1, one mistake and we get punished for it. But I thought we played well, in the second half especially,” Ten Hag said.

“Overall 4-1, good goals, good performance and give something to the fans. They give us something back as well because they are behind us and we are very grateful after Sunday.

“It was a good attitude from the start, we were on the front foot, we were good on the ball, finding spare men in midfield. They made good switches; they made good runs behind and created a lot of chances. I’m happy today.

“It’s always how a team reacts after a setback – you see it once again; this is not the first time this season. Already it’s been five or six times, we can reset and bounce back. This team has character so it is a compliment to the team.”

Arsenal held to a draw

William Saliba was on target as Arsenal were held to a 2-2 draw at Sporting in the first leg of their round-of-16.

The French defender nodded in Fabio Vieira’s corner on 22 minutes to open the scoring.

However, the visitors fell asleep at a similar set piece just past the half hour and Goncalo Inacio made goalkeeper Matt Turner pay for his indecision with a thumping close-range header.

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Mikel Arteta had made six changes to the side that beat Bournemouth in dramatic fashion at the weekend.

The changes showed as the away side lacked tempo, cohesion, and rhythm for large spells of the encounter.

Sporting stole in front on 55 minutes when Paulinho tapped in a rebound and the 30-year-old striker then squandered a gilt-edged chance to extend his side’s lead.

It would prove costly as within a minute the Gunners had levelled when Granit Xhaka’s speculative cross-shot hit Hidemasa Morita and flew into the opposite corner.

Both sides pressed for a winner but it was not be, leaving the tie finely poised ahead of the second leg at Emirates Stadium on March 16.

Full Europa League results

Sporting 2-2 Arsenal

Manchester United 4-1 Real Betis

Union Berlin 3-3 Union Saint-Gilloise

AS Roma 2-0 Real Sociedad

Juventus 1-0 Freiburg

Sevilla 2-0 Fenerbahce

Shakhtar Donetsk 1-1 Feyenoord

Bayern Leverkusen 2-0 Ferencvaros

Alfred Saiki
Alfred Saiki
A passionate sports journalist and administrator. I want to see the world.