Manchester United defeated AC Milan 1-0 on Thursday to advance to the Europa League quarterfinals, while Dinamo Zagreb eliminated Tottenham Hotspur after added time in Croatia.
After an ugly battle inside the Milan area, Paul Pogba scored the game’s only goal four minutes after replacing Marcus Rashford as a halftime substitute.
United’s Dean Henderson made an impressive reflex save to deny Zlatan Ibrahimovic an equalizer against his former club and give Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side a 2-1 aggregate win.
“We’ve come through a very difficult tie against a fantastic club and we’ve overcome some difficulties,” Solskjaer told BT Sport.
“We’ve missed Paul, he’s been out for almost two months. He was just getting into his best form. He’s going to give us a big boost for the rest of the season.”
Arsenal, who qualified after losing 1-0 to Olympiakos in the second leg, is one of two English clubs in the last eight draw on Friday.
Olympiakos prevailed again at the Emirates Stadium thanks to Youssef El-deflected Arabi’s second-half strike, but Arsenal progressed 3-2 on aggregate, avenging their away-goal loss to the Greeks last season.
“Really happy to be through. We had a tough opponent, so happy to be through. Sometimes we have to be fair with ourselves – we were nowhere near the levels we could be,” said Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta.
After winning by two goals in the first leg, Jose Mourinho’s Spurs were eliminated from the competition, with Dinamo attacker Mislav Orsic scoring a superb hat-trick for the Croatian champions.
Orsic completed his treble by running past three players and slamming a low drive past Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris from the edge of the box.
Spurs had a late chance to go through on away goals, but Harry Kane’s effort was clawed out by Dinamo goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic, and the hosts won 3-2 on aggregate.
Rangers fear major exit for ‘key’ player wanted by clubs abroad
Scott Arfield has been a vital part of the Rangers team since joining in 2018, and his current form, especially after van Bronckhorst took charge, is nothing short of exemplary.
The 33-year old Scottish-Canadian’s display is on a high now, and he recently helped his side’s win against Livingston with his “unbelievable” (according to Richard Foster) 75th minute goal.
He is a must-keep, but according to transfermarkt, the reigning Scottish champions risk losing him and other senior team members, including Steven Davis and Allan McGregor, in the summer following contract expiry.
The Mirror’s print edition reported that the Gers fear letting their No. 37 go in exchange for nothing, given that USA clubs have their sights set on the midfielder, and his contract is only months away from expiry.
Money included or not, Scott’s departure could be a big blow come next season since he now practically determines Rangers’ performance (the one time he didn’t play after Gerrard’s exit is the only time Rangers dropped points.)
Hopefully, Rangers will consider holding talks to fight for the former Huddersfield Town’s contract extension, and he (Scott) is willing to stay in Scotland and at Ibrox, otherwise the double loss in terms of money and talent could hugely affect the Gers next season.
Liverpool win race for £50m Porto star
Liverpool are preparing a late £45 million bid for Porto striker Luis Diaz, who is also being pursued by Tottenham.
The Colombian winger was Jurgen Klopp’s first option for the summer transfer window, but due to Spurs’ significant interest, Liverpool have hastened their preparations.
Liverpool is thought to be proposing an initial £37 million, plus bonuses, which will only be activated if Diaz is a major success at Anfield.
Tottenham has been in discussions with Porto over Diaz, reportedly willing to spend up to £46 million for the player.
Spurs are reportedly willing to pay £37.6 million upfront for Diaz, with an extra £8.4 million in performance-related add-ons, according to reports in Portugal.
Spurs have already appeared to miss out on Wolves attacker Adama Traore, who appears poised to return to Barca on loan, and missing out on Luiz would be another major blow this month.
It is unclear whether Diaz will move to Anfield this month or wait till the end of the season. In 18 outings for his current club this season, he has managed to score 14 goals.
Sky Sports reporter Vinny O’Connor:
“Obviously, it’s far from done and could easily come to nothing.
“However, Liverpool view this as an excellent deal if it gets completed – very much close to a Diogo Jota-type fee. Also, it is far better value than the original €60m asking price.
“Diaz was Jurgen Klopp’s first choice for the summer, but they have brought those plans forward because it was clear if Liverpool didn’t act this window, the player would move on.
“This isn’t done and could yet collapse – the player is in Argentina with his national team, so it will be far from straightforward to complete the deal.
“However, if it does get done, it’s a big coup for Julian Ward, who is to succeed sporting director Michael Edwards in the summer. It was a deal in which Ward lead for the first time, but it is fair to say he’s been supported strongly by Edwards who put together the strategy to secure the player this month.”
Two Everton midfielders out for minimum of four weeks
After suffering injuries in the last week, Everton midfielders Abdoulaye Doucoure and Fabian Delph will both be out for at least four weeks.
The injury to Doucoure occurred in the second half of Everton’s 1-0 loss to Aston Villa on Saturday, while the injury to Delph occurred in training.
Duncan Ferguson, the interim manager, suddenly has a scarcity of fit midfield players, with Tom Davies also sidelined for a prolonged period.
Allan, Andre Gomes, and Jean-Philippe Gbamin, as well as Tyler Onyango, are available.
An Everton statement read: “Everton midfielders Abdoulaye Doucoure and Fabian Delph are expected to be out for a minimum of four weeks after sustaining injuries.
“Frenchman Doucoure was forced off in the 65th minute of Saturday’s Premier League match against Aston Villa at Goodison Park due to a groin problem.
“Subsequent tests have revealed the 29-year-old requires a period of rehabilitation under the care of Everton’s medical staff at USM Finch Farm.
“Meanwhile, Delph sustained a thigh injury during a training session this week and is now undergoing treatment with the club’s medical team.”
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