The UEFA Europa League quarterfinals first-leg matches are in the books as Manchester United, Roma, and Villarreal picked up wins on Thursday. Arsenal had a rough day in front of goal, hitting the post twice before Nicolas Pepe finally got the breakthrough goal in the 86th minute, but Slavia Prague earned a late equalizer in stoppage time for a 1-1 draw.
Europa League quarterfinal return-legs continue next week on April 15. Below are scores, highlights and takeaways from the first legs.
UEFA Europa League scores, updates
· Granada 0, Manchester United 2
· Arsenal 1, Slavia Prague 1
· Ajax 1, Roma, 2
· Dinamo Zagreb 0, Villarreal 1
Villarreal outlast Dinamo Zagreb
A converted penalty kick was the difference-maker in an evenly matched game between tournament dark horses Dinamo Zagreb and Villarreal. The two sides were even in total shots with six a piece, but a hand ball was awarded to Villarreal just ahead of halftime and Gerardo Moreno converted in the 44th minute.
Arsenal rough in front of goal
Slavia Prague and Arsenal played out a scoreless match for over 80 minutes before Arsenal got the breakthrough in the 86th minute by Nicolas Pepe. There Gunners were snake bit for large stretches of the game as the their shots hit the woodwork to keep things scoreless early.
The late goal from Pepe very nearly gave Arsenal the victory heading into the second-leg, before Slavia Prague scored a late-game equalizer in stoppage time off a set piece.
Roma defeat Ajax
Both teams entered their quarterfinal first leg off high scoring aggregates in their round of 16 fixtures, and set the scene to out-score the other during the quarterfinal. Ajax took early control of the match with more shots, attempts on target, and a goal from Davy Klaasen ahead of halftime.
Ajax had a penalty opportunity to extend the lead, but was denied by Pau Lopez in the 53rd minute.
A second-half surge from Roma started in the 57th minute with a free-kick goal wickedly executed by Roma's Lorenzo Pellegrini that forced a save but still found the back of the net.
Ibanez earned the game winner with a vicious volley in the box for during the 87th minute to give Roma a 2-1 aggregate heading into the return leg.
- CBS Sports.