Arsenal and Chelsea were among seven teams to reach the Europa League knockout stage on Thursday, while last year’s runners-up Olympique de Marseille were eliminated at the group phase.
The two Premier League teams were joined by Eintracht Frankfurt, Lazio, Bayer Leverkusen, FC Zurich, and Dinamo Zagreb in the last 32 with two games still to play before the draw for the next round in Nyon, Switzerland on December 17, reports Rueters.
Arsenal qualified with a 0-0 draw against Sporting at The Emirates, although striker Danny Welbeck was carried off on a stretcher in the first half with a serious ankle injury, while Chelsea won 1-0 at BATE Borisov in one of the early kickoffs.
A heavily changed Arsenal side were unable to break down a dogged Sporting team, who were reduced to 10 men in the 88th minute when defender Jeremy Mathieu fouled striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as he raced towards the area.
However, the point was enough to guarantee the north London side a place in the last 32 atop Group E on 10 points, with Sporting behind them on seven. Vorskla Poltava lost 1-0 to FK Qarabag, with both teams on three points.
Arsenal forward Welbeck was taken off on a stretcher and given oxygen in the 25th minute after landing awkwardly when jumping for a header only hours after being named in the England squad for their next internationals.
Earlier, Chelsea’s France striker Giroud got his first goal this season in the second half to secure a win at BATE, meaning Maurizio Sarri’s side have qualified from Group L.
“I think the first target in this competition was to qualify and now the second target is to win our group so I think we need one more point,” the Italian coach said.
Chelsea have yet to lose under Sarri so far this season.
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