Kieran Tierney’s first-half goal secured a 1-0 home win for Arsenal against FC Zurich and top spot in Europa League Group A on Thursday, but Manchester United could only finish second in their chicken and will participate in the February playoffs.
Arsenal’s superb 25-yard strike from Tierney won in a game they largely dominated but they had to resist pressure from the Swiss side at the end to finish with 15 points, two ahead of second-placed PSV Eindhoven. Argentina teenager Alejandro Garnacho scored in United’s 1-0 win over Real Sociedad but it wasn’t enough to knock the Spanish side from top of Group E and Erik ten Hag’s men had to settle for second place on goal difference.
The eight group winners advance to the last 16 while the runners-up face off in the playoffs where they face the teams who finished third in their Champions League groups, with potential opponents such as Ajax Amsterdam , Barcelona and Juventus. The draw for the next stage will take place on Monday. Arsenal missed many chances to double their lead and came close to paying.
Gabriel Jesus unintentionally fended off a goal-bound shot from team-mate Fabio Vieira when he hit him from yards out and goalkeeper Yanick Brecher was beaten. Zürich had the ball in the back of the net from a rare second-half foray, but Adrian Guerrero was flagged offside, and they squandered a number of late chances to snatch a draw.
An own goal from Alfons Sampsted and a strike from Johan Bakayoko saw PSV win 2-1 against Bodo/Glimt who finished third in the pool. Lorenzo Pellegrini scored two second-half penalties as AS Roma came from behind to beat Bulgarian visitors Ludogorets 3-1 to take second place in Group C. Real Betis topped the group.
Fenerbahce cruised to a 2-0 victory over Dynamo Kyiv in neutral Poland to top Group B ahead of Rennes, while the Ukrainians dropped out of European competition to finish fourth. Substitute Santiago Gimenez scored the only goal as Feyenoord beat Lazio 1-0 at the top of Group F, where all four teams finished with eight points.
The Dutch side edged Midtjylland in second place on goals scored as the latter recorded a 2-0 victory over Sturm Graz, while Lazio finished third and qualified for the Europa League play-off. Kevin Volland scored a hat-trick for AS Monaco beating Red Star Belgrade 4-1 to secure second place in Group H and a place in the play-offs.
Hungary’s Ferencvaros topped the pool despite losing 1-0 to Trabzonspor. Late goals from Mostafa Mohamed and Ludovic Blas earned Nantes a 2-0 victory over Olympiacos Piraeus and second place in their group, which was won by Freiburg.
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