Friday, March 24, 2017

Europa League Review: Bernardeschi inspires Fiorentina, Gent shock Spurs, Ibrahimovic hits hat-trick

SoccerNews in Serie A 16 Feb 2017

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The Europa League last 32 provided a tough test for a number of former Champions League clubs, and many of the round’s ties are delicately poised going into the second leg.

 

BERNARDESCHI HITS BIRTHDAY THUNDERBOLT

Fiorentina will be expected to reach the last 16 after Federico Bernardeschi’s long-range free-kick earned the Italians a 1-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach.

Bernardeschi gave his side an away goal to take into the return leg when he struck a contender for goal of the tournament from all of 30 yards after 43 minutes at Borussia Park on Thursday.

Roma, who beat Fiorentina 4-0 in Serie A earlier in the month, claimed a 4-0 win over Villarreal courtesy of a superbly struck first-half goal from Brazilian defender Emerson and Edin Dzeko’s second-half hat-trick.

That scoreline was matched by Rostov, who raced into a 3-0 lead over Sparta Prague in the first half of their clash at Stadion Olimp-2, before Sardar Azmoun’s second-half goal put the tie all but beyond doubt.

 

SPURS MUST WIN AT WEMBLEY AFTER SHOCK GENT DEFEAT

Tottenham’s quest for silverware will be on the line at Wembley in the second leg of their tie with Gent after Jeremy Perbet’s goal earned the Belgian side a 1-0 win at the Ghelamco Arena.

Harry Kane hit the post for Spurs but Mauricio Pochettino’s men failed to show the kind of form that earned them an 11-game unbeaten streak recently, and Gent are in control at the half-way point of the contest.

Fellow Belgians Genk were moments away from victory over Astra when Takayuki Seto struck a 90th-minute equaliser to level the tie at 2-2, while Anderlecht look set to reach the last 16 after they beat Zenit 2-0 with Frank Acheampong scoring twice.

 

IBRAHIMOVIC STEALS LIMELIGHT FROM POGBA BROTHERS

Manchester United’s Paul Pogba lined up against his older brother Florentin against Saint-Etienne at Old Trafford, but the night belonged to Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The Swede scored from a deflected free-kick after 15 minutes, added a second with an easy tap-in 15 minutes from time, and completed his first hat-trick via an 88th-minute penalty as Jose Mourinho’s side won 3-0.

Gustavo Blanco grabbed a valuable away goal for Shakhtar Donetsk as they ran out 1-0 winners at Celta Vigo, while Athletic Bilbao edged APOEL 3-2.

Elsewhere, Krasnodar beat Fenerbahce 1-0, Lyon cruised to a 4-1 victory over AZ Alkmaar and Schalke accounted for PAOK 3-0.

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