By Norman Isaac Mwambazi
Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Scottish side Rangers will fancy their chances of progressing to the UEFA Europa League round of 16 after all three secured first-leg wins away from home, while Arsenal and Leicester both drew on foreign soil.
Bruno Fernandes struck twice as a ruthless United recorded a comfortable victory in Turin, Italy. The Portugal midfielder shrewdly anticipated a collision to steer home United’s first inside 27 minutes, before pouncing again after the break. Marcus Rashford then latched onto Fred’s superb through ball for the third, with Daniel James capping the win on 90 minutes.
Elsewhere, two goals in the space of three second-half minutes mean it is all square between Benfica and Arsenal at the halfway stage.
Pizzi opened the scoring with a penalty following Emile Smith Rowe’s handball, but Bukayo Saka tapped in Cédric’s cross shortly after to salvage a draw for the Gunners in Rome.
In Germany, a first-half surge put Tottenham firmly in the driving seat against Wolfsberg, with Heung-Min Son stooping to head in Gareth Bale’s cross before the Welshman doubled the lead and Lucas Moura made it 3-0. Michael Liendl reduced the arrears from the penalty spot, but Carlos Vinícius had the final say late on.
In Belgium, Borna Barišić’s added-time penalty made the difference in a spectacular encounter between Antwerp and Scottish side Rangers.
Joe Aribo had earlier put Steven Gerrard’s men ahead, only for Felipe Avenatti’s header and Lior Refaelov’s penalty to turn the tables.
Barišić’s first spot kick restored parity before Martin Hongla and Ryan Kent exchanged goals, with Antwerp’s Abdoulaye Seck later sent off.
Full time results
Real Sociedad 0-4 Manchester United
Benfica 1-1 Arsenal
Wolfsberg 1-4 Tottenham
Antwerp 3-4 Rangers
Slavia Praha 0-0 Leicester
Dynamo Kyiv 1-1 Club Brugge
Crvena zvezda 2-2 AC Milan
Braga 0-2 Roma
Krasnodar 2-3 Dinamo Zagreb
Young Boys 4-3 Leverkusen
Olympiacos 4-2 PSV Eindhoven
Salzburg 0-2 Villarreal
Molde 3-3 Hoffenheim
Granada 2-0 Napoli
Maccabi Tel-Aviv 0-2 Shakhtar
LOSC Lille 1-2 Ajax.
The return legs will be played on Thursday February 24, 2021.
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