Greenwood, Saka star as United and Arsenal youth shine in Europa League
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Paris (AFP) –
Teenager Mason Greenwood again grabbed his chances for Manchester United, scoring twice in a 4-0 thrashing of AZ Alkmaar in the Europa League on Thursday.
Earlier Arsenal came back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at Standard Liege and also make sure of a place in the last 32 as Group F winners.
With Wolves, who crushed Besiktas 4-0, also advancing, English clubs ended with a full house in Europe with the three Europa League entries following the Premier League's four Champions League teams into the knockout rounds.
Spanish clubs also completed a full set when Getafe joined already-qualified Sevilla and Espanyol by scoring three times in the last 14 minutes to beat Krasnodar 3-0 in a showdown for second place in Group C.
However, Bundesliga leaders Borussia Moenchengladbach and Italian power Lazio made surprising exits.
At Old Trafford, in a battle for top spot in Group L, Alkmaar matched a youthful United side until the 53rd minute when veteran Ashley Young smashed the home team ahead.
Greenwood pounced on a loose ball to snap the second into the corner of the net. After Greenwood was fouled, Juan Mata converted a penalty.
Then the Spaniard set up Greenwood for another crisp low left-footer inside the post.
"Mason's a different class as a finisher," said United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
"If there's anything around the box you expect him to get a shot off and on target, he's good at creating space for himself and right-foot, left-foot it doesn't matter."
Alexandre Lacazette and Bukayo Saka were on target in the space of three second-half minutes as Arsenal survived a scare to win their group.
They lived on their nerves as Eintracht Frankfurt were poised to knock them off top spot when the Germans led Guimaraes 2-1.
However, the Portuguese side, already eliminated, scored twice in the last five minutes to claim a 3-2 win.
"Saka was amazing, he's a tremendous talent," said Arsenal caretaker coach Freddie Ljungberg.
Liege took the lead just after half-time when a speculative Samuel Bastien shot took a huge deflection.
The goal meant Arsenal had failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 13 matches in all competitions.
It got worse after 69 minutes when Selim Amallah made it 2-0 off another deflection as Liege looked for the unlikely scoreline of 5-0 which would put them through and Arsenal out.
However, Lacazette calmed Arsenal nerves after 78 minutes when he headed in a cross from Saka.
- Late drama -
Three minutes later, the impressive Saka levelled with a fine finish from the edge of the box.
On a night of late drama, Gladbach conceded in the 91st minute to lose 2-1 to Istanbul Basaksehir and drop from first to third in Group J and out of the competition.
Marcus Thuram had given the Germans a 33rd minute lead. Irfan Can Kahveci replied before half time and Enzo Crivelli hit the late winner after a goalmouth scramble.
Basaksehir topped the pool. Roma, held 2-2 at home to Austrians Wolfsberg, were second.
In a straight shootout for second in Group H in Razgrad, Bulgaria, substitute Nikolay Signevich scored five minutes into added time to give Ferencvaros a 1-1 draw with Ludogorets.
The Hungarians finished one point ahead of Ludogorets in second place behind Espanyol.
Celtic, fresh from winning the Scottish League Cup last weekend and already assured of making the last 32, lost 2-0 at Cluj who went through as Group E runners-up behind the Scots.
Lazio, third in Serie A, were knocked out after a 2-0 loss at Rennes in the same group.
Rangers got the draw they needed with a 1-1 home draw against Young Boys of Berne in Group G.
Alfredo Morelos gave the home team the lead but in the 89th minute Borna Boric put into his own goal to deprive the Glaswegians of first place in Group G.
That went to Porto who beat Feyenoord 3-2 in a game in which all the goals game in the first 33 minutes.
© 2019 AFP