UEL Round-Up: Favourites United Get Vital Away Draw As Ajax, Lyon Secure Crucial 1st Leg Wins
Manchester United have improved their chances of securing a last four place in the UEFA Europa League (UEL) after they got a creditable 1-1 away draw at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium in Anderlecht on Thursday night in what was the 1st Leg of their quarter-final tie.
Jose Mourinho’s men took a first half lead through their Armenian import Henrikh Mkhitaryan and should have scored more before they were stunned four minutes from time courtesy Belgian international Leander Dendoncker who powered in a header to keep his team in the tie ahead of the second leg slated for Old Trafford on April 19.
Former European champions Ajax defeated German visitors Schalke 04 2-0 in their first leg clash with skipper Davy Klaassen netting a brace. He got his first from the penalty spot midway through the first half before adding a second with a close range finish with seven minutes gone in the second half.
Hosts Celta Vigo and their Belgian opponents served up a five-goal thriller with the Spanish La Liga side running out 3-2 winners. Dutch international winger Jean-Paul Boetius gave the away side the lead before first half goals from Danish midfielder Pione Sisto, Spanish forward Iago Aspas (netted his 6th UEL strike this season) and Swedish striker John Guidetti gave the home team a 3-1 lead going into the interval. Veteran Belgian midfielder Thomas Buffel pulled a goal back for Genk in the second half to keep them firmly in the tie.
In the last tie, which started an hour late due to crowd violence, Olympique Lyon came from behind to beat Turkish outfit Besiktas 2-1 at the Stade Gerland. Former Liverpool winger Ryan Babel gave his side the lead before Correntin Tolisso and Jeremy Morel scored two goals in two minutes to overturn the deficit ahead of next week’s second leg clash.
Full UEL Results (1st Leg of Last Eight):
Anderletch 1-1 Manchester United
Ajax 2-0 Schalke 04
Celta Vigo 3-2 Genk
Lyon 2-1 Besiktas