Red Bull Salzburg's Xaver Schlager hails stunning 6-5 win over Lazio to reach Europa semis

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Red Bull Salzburg midfielder Xaver Schlager hailed an unforgettable night as the Austrians stunned Lazio to earn an unlikely place in the Europa League semi-finals.

The Serie A side held a 4-2 advantage going into the second leg and Salzburg’s chances of progression looked dead and buried when Ciro Immobile opened the scoring with an exquisite finish after 55 minutes.

However, Moanes Dabbur levelled 84 seconds later to spark a stunning comeback, with three further goals inside four minutes from Amadou Haidara, Hwang Hee-chan and Stefan Lainer sealing a remarkable 6-5 aggregate win.

The Austrian Bundesliga champions will join Arsenal, Atletico Madrid and Marseille in Friday’s semi-final draw and Schlager struggled to overcome his emotions following Salzburg’s heroics.

He told redbullsalzburg.at: “There are indescribable feelings of happiness. In our dressing room, the party is really going on.

“Luckily, we felt that way today. We always believed in it, and that makes a lot of difference. These are wonderful moments for a player. I will never forget.”

Manager Marco Rose was equally impressed and hailed his players for their never-say-die attitude as they became Austria’s first participants in the last four since the beginning of the Europa League era.

Rose said: “A great football night, you can say that. I am very proud of my team. We believed in it, worked hard and hats off to the boys. They deserve it.”

Lazio boss Simone Inzaghi was magnanimous in defeat but rued his side’s profligacy in front of goal as they prepare for the weekend’s Derby della Capitale with Roma, who produced a similarly brilliant comeback against Barcelona two days ago.

He told sslazio.it: “We wanted to get to the semi-finals, but we have little to complain. Honour to Salzburg who deserved to go through.

“We made five shots on goal like Salzburg, but they managed to score four goals unlike us. They were better than us and they deserved the win.

“Today’s challenge will be a lesson for everyone, but it does not detract from our journey in Europe.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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Arsenal showed signs of complacency in win over CSKA Moscow, Arsene Wenger admits

Mark Bryans 13/04/2018
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Arsene Wenger suggested his Arsenal side showed a hint of complacency as they were made to fight for their place in the Europa League semi-finals having fallen two goals behind at CSKA Moscow.

The Gunners were boasting a 4-1 lead from the opening leg but found themselves deservedly behind on the night as Fedor Chalov and Kirill Nababkin pounced on Petr Cech parries to put the hosts within touching distance of an unlikely turnaround.

Danny Welbeck halted the comeback with a well-taken goal on 75 minutes, Arsenal’s first shot on target on the night.

Aaron Ramsey then scored in stoppage time to seal a 2-2 draw, sending Arsenal through 6-3 on aggregate.

It was a much nervier night than the Gunners would have anticipated and Wenger put that down to the margin of victory from the first leg.

“You could see when you have a big difference after the first game it is difficult to turn up with the same urgency than if the difference is very small and that played a part in the first half,” he said.

“I felt in the two games they (CSKA) played well, especially tonight they made my heart beat much quicker than I expected it to be played against a good team.

“I knew that after the first game they showed that again tonight, they gave us many problems.”

Arsenal were without the injured Henrikh Mkhitaryan for this game after he limped out of the first leg with a knee injury.

He has been superb for Arsenal in the competition this season and could now be fit for the semi-finals.
“(The injury is) a medial knee ligament strain,” he said.

“He should be out for two more weeks, don’t be too worried we have good medical staff and he is very serious in his rehab.”

CSKA boss Viktor Goncharenko felt his side’s recent fixture pile-up played a big part in his players being unable to sustain the high tempo that had frightened the life out of their visitors in the first half.

“Until 75 minutes we played extremely well and were wining in a justified way,” he said.

“We took the lead and were so close winning the this match, after the recent duels with Barcelona and Juventus, it was just too much for us to make a marvellous comeback in this game.

“The tempo of the match began going down and down, the speed Arsenal were playing was high and our schedule at the moment is tough – it didn’t happen because we have been playing so many matches.” 

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Arsenal player ratings as Mohamed Elneny's outstanding performance earns an 8 and saves Gunners' blushes

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Arsenal nearly suffered another embarrassing European exit before pulling through.

Arsenal suffered an almighty scare on their way to the Europa League semi-finals.

Leading 4-1 from last week’s first leg at home, they fell behind 2-0 to CSKA Moscow on Thursday.

However, as CSKA pushed for the third goal that would have sent them through, Arsenal hit back with two counter-attacking goals to level the scores on the night and go through 6-3 on aggregate.

Here’s a look at how the Gunners performed in Thursday’s 2-2 draw.

ARSENAL (4-5-1)

Petr Cech – 7: Pulled off good saves in the build-up to CSKA’s first two goals, and another soon after the second.

Hector Bellerin – 6: The Spanish right-back was targeted at times by Moscow’s attack, but stood up to the challenge. Below his best in attack.

Shkodran Mustafi – 4: Another shaky display from the German. Failed to react as his runner slipped in to score CSKA’s first.

Laurent Koscielny – 5: The lack of leadership in defence was visible early on, but the Frenchman grew into the game as Arsenal looked to hold on.

Nacho Monreal – 4: Both CSKA goals came from his flank, first when he was beaten on a cross and then when he didn’t react as Cech saved a long-range shot.

Aaron Ramsey – 6: Got his customary Europa League goal, although he wasn’t at his best until the last 20 minutes as Arsenal looked to counter.

Mohamed Elneny -8: Arsenal’s best player in midfield, running his socks off. Delivered beautiful assists for both of Arsenal’s goals.

Jack Wilshere – 4: Wilshere’s form from the start of 2018 has disappeared, and on Thursday he often hindered rather than helped Arsenal’s attack.

Mesut Ozil – 5: If it hadn’t been for Arsenal’s late fight-back, Ozil would yet again have been the target of criticism. Below-par performance.

Alexandre Lacazette – 5: Denied the service he needed to thrive, but also never looked like making an impact. Was going to be subbed off even before Arsenal scored.

Danny Welbeck – 7: Up until his goal, Welbeck hadn’t been having the best game. But his strike was superb, and suddenly he was everywhere, including helping his defence.

SUBSTITUTES

Callum Chambers – 6: Trusted to do a better job in midfield than Wilshere, and repaid that faith as he helped solidify Arsenal in the middle of the park.

Alex Iwobi – N/A: Fluffed his lines when presented with a glorious chance to put the tie to bed. A willing runner in attack otherwise, adding threat to Arsenal’s counters.

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