Arsenal in Europa semis, Salzburg oust Lazio
MOSCOW, Russia (AP):
Arsenal overcame a scare against CSKA Moscow yesterday to reach the semi-finals of the Europa League, while Salzburg staged a stunning comeback to oust Lazio with four goals in 20 minutes.
Played at a time of growing political tension between the British and Russian governments, there was no sign of trouble on the streets outside the VEB Arena in Moscow.
CSKA went 2-0 up to put Arsenal under pressure, but the London club hit back to draw 2-2 on the night and progress 6-3 on aggregate.
Lazio seemed poised to clinch a place in the last four when Ciro Immobile struck in the 55th minute to give the Italian team a 5-2 advantage.
Salzburg, though, produced a spectacular recovery to become the first Austrian team to reach the semi-finals of the competition in its current form.
Marseille also qualified after losing the first leg, beating Leipzig 5-2 to win 5-3 overall, while Atletico Madrid lost 1-0 at Sporting Lisbon but scraped through 2-1 on aggregate.
The semi-final draw will take place today.
Arsenal had to show some second-half grit to help manager Arsene Wenger move within three games of winning his first European trophy.
Wenger's team initially struggled on a cool spring night in Moscow, going 2-0 down after 50 minutes following goals from Fedor Chalov and Kirill Nababkin.
Danny Welbeck came to the rescue with a 75th minute goal before Aaron Ramsey went charging through the middle of the defence to grab Arsenal's second goal in stoppage time and extend his team's unbeaten run to seven games in all competitions.
With Arsenal sixth in the Premier League, 13 points off fourth place, winning the Europa League is their best chance of a Champions League spot next season.
The UEFA organisers had been faced with the awkward prospect of two Red Bull-branded teams, Salzburg and Leipzig, meeting in the semis and a resulting conflict of interest.
But it was the lesser-known of the two teams that made the semis, with Salzburg taking advantage of a shock Lazio collapse. Stefan Lainer capped a remarkable four-goal burst when he netted with a diving header in the 76th minute.