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Europa League: West Ham & AC Milan cruise into quarters; Bayer Leverkusen narrowly avoid shock exit

Europa League

David Moyes’ Hammers went into the second leg of their last 16 tie trailing 1- on aggregate but made light work of the task in overturning that deficit on home soil.

Lucas Paqueta cancelled out Freiburg’s advantage inside nine minutes, before Jarrod Bowen put West Ham ahead in the tie later in the first half. Aaron Cresswell put further daylight between the sides soon after the half-time interval, with a late Mohammed Kudus brace putting the icing on the cake for last season’s Europa Conference League champions.

They are joined in Friday’s quarter-final draw by Premier League compatriots Liverpool, whose 6-1 annihilation of Sparta Prague at Anfield added to a 5-1 win in the Czech capital a week ago and totalled an 11-2 aggregate win over the two legs. Mohamed Salah made Reds goalscoring history.

Brighton & Hove Albion didn’t have the same outcome in their last 16 tie, despite winning against Roma their first ever European home knockout game. Danny Welbeck’s goal at the Amex Stadium was not enough to dent Roma’s commanding 4-0 lead from the reverse leg in Italy.

AC Milan played 70 minutes of their second leg against Slavia Prague with a player advantage after Tomas Holes was sent off. The Rossoneri made the most of it, scoring three times in the first half alone through Christian Pulisic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Rafael Leao. By the time, Matej Jurasek pulled one back for Slavia near the end, Milan had long been thinking about the quarters.

For a team that is ten points clear of Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga table, Bayer Leverkusen had a battle on their hands against Qarabag, already the first Azerbaijani team to reach the last 16 of a European competition. Having drawn 2-2 in the first leg, Xabi Alonso’s Leverkusen were heading out when Abdellah Zoubir and Juninho put Qarabag 2-0 ahead on the night and 4-2 up on aggregate. Jeremie Frimpong cut into that lead midway through the second half, but it was skin of the teeth stuff in the end as 93rd and 97th minute goals from Patrik Schick only just turned it round at the death.

UEFA needn’t have worried about a potential final between Liverpool and Rangers because the latter are now out of the competition after a 1-0 defeat to Benfica at Ibrox. Rafa Silva’s second half goal was all that the Portuguese giants needed to edge it 3-2 on aggregate.

Marseille are heading through despite losing 3-1 against Villarreal in Spain. Their 4-0 first leg last week was too much for Villarreal to overturn and even Jonathan Clauss’ 94th minute consolation for the Ligue 1 side still made no difference to the final outcome.

Goals from ex-Premier League forwards Ademola Lookman and Gianluca Scamacca are the reason that Atalanta and not Sporting CP are into the quarter-finals. The Lisbon side took a 2-1 aggregate lead through Pedro Goncalves’ first half goal. But both Atalanta goals came in the first 14 minutes of the second and ensured they would take the tie 3-2 on aggregate.