Race to Lyon heats up as Europa League semis kick off
The Europa League’s semi finals commence tonight as Olympique Marseille take on Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg, whilst the most eagerly awaited tie of the round also takes place with Arsenal squaring up against the previous two time winners of the competition, Atletico Madrid.
Arsene Wenger’s side booked their place in the last four by dispatching of Russian side, CSKA Moscow 6-3 on aggregate with a comprehensive 4-1 win in the first leg at the Emirates which saw Aaron Ramsey score a scintillating flicked finish.
Diego Simeone’s team managed to get into the semi finals, but not as easily as Arsenal. They had won the first leg against Sporting Lisbon at the Wanda Metropolitano by a scoreline of two goals to nil, but lost 1-0 in the return leg in Portugal.
Olympique Marseille had lost their first leg against last season’s Bundesliga runners up, Red Bull Leipzig, however, came back in the second leg to thrash the German side 5-2 and go through 5-3 winners on aggregate.
Austrian champions Red Bull Salzburg looked destined to be crashing out in the last eight after their 4-2 defeat against Lazio in Italy’s capital and went 1-0 down in the return leg after Ciro Immobile had put the Italian side in front, but the Austrian’s pulled off a quite remarkable comeback, equalising a minute after going behind which was the first of four goals inside a 20 minute spell where they fought back to win and go through with an aggregate of 6-5 as winners.
Both ties look like they will deliver truly entertaining games of football as they battle it out to win the trophy won by Manchester United last year.
Each game begins at 8.05 PM GMT with the return legs taking place next Thursday at the same time.