Published On: Thu, Feb 15th, 2018

Europa League roundup: Busy matchday sees Leipzig stun Napoli

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The Europa League knockout stage kicked off this week, and after Red Star Belgrade and CSKA Moscow got their first-leg clash out of the way in the Serbian capital on Tuesday, the competition’s other 30 sides followed suit Thursday.

Here’s a look at a busy day on the continent:

Ostersunds FK 0-3 Arsenal: Swedish minnow Ostersunds FK didn't help its cause with some disastrous defending in the opening 25 minutes. Arsenal took a two-goal advantage to the interval before Mesut Ozil made it three 13 minutes after the break.

David Ospina's penalty save capped off the win, and the margin of victory should allow Arsene Wenger to employ a budding side for the return fixture, which comes three days before the League Cup final with Manchester City.

Borussia Dortmund 3-2 Atalanta: Not even a Josip Ilicic five-minute brace could inhibit the irrepressible force that is Michy Batshuayi, whose second-half two-goal performance included a match-winner in added time. That’s now five goals for the Belgian Chelsea reject in three matches.

Dortmund has gone six matches in all competitions sans defeat, and with the return leg set for Feb. 22 at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia, where Atalanta has lost three of its last four, Peter Stoger's lot hold the advantage.

Marseille 3-0 Braga: On the topic of in-form players, Marseille's Florian Thauvin tallied his fifth goal in three matches, but it came after his OM mates had already put two past Primeira Liga outfit Braga, with Valere Germain, who is in a fine vein of form himself, scoring his fifth in his last five.

Ludogorets Razgrad 0-3 AC Milan: Gennaro Gattuso's charges weren't at their best, but they got a solid result nonetheless thanks to homegrown Primavera product Patrick Cutrone's opener and goals from Ricardo Rodriguez and Fabio Borini in a one-sided outing against the six-time defending Bulgarian champs.

Napoli 1-3 RB Leipzig: From Champions League darling to Europa League vagabond, Napoli is looking down the barrel of continental elimination after two second-half goals from Timo Werner and a Bruma finish bested Maurizio Sarri's men at the Stadio San Paolo. Shocking display from the Serie A leader.

FC Copenhagen 1-4 Atletico Madrid: After an early scare thanks to former Middlesbrough man Viktor Fischer's opener at the quarter-hour mark, tournament favourite Atletico Madrid made quick work of Copenhagen, courtesy of second-half goals from Kevin Gameiro, Antoine Griezmann, and Vitolo.

Lyon 3-1 Villarreal: Midfield star-to-be Tanguy Ndombele, Nabil Fekir, and Memphis Depay registered goals after the interval to see off a plucky Villarreal side, as Lyon looks to reach the semi-final stage of the Europa League for a second season on the bounce.

Elsewhere: Nice‘s strangely mercurial season took another hit as Lokomotiv Moscow and hat-trick hero Manuel Fernandes overturned a two-goal deficit to win at the Allianz Riviera. Real Sociedad and Salzburg shared the spoils with a 2-2 draw in San Sebastian, Aritz Aduriz scored twice as Athletic Bilbao topped Spartak Moscow 3-1 in Russia, and Sporting CP bested FC Astana 3-1 in the Kazakh capital.

In the late matches, Celtic got a massive 1-0 win over Zenit St. Petersburg thanks to Callum McGregor's late winner, Partizan Belgrade drew 1-1 with Czechs Viktoria Plzen, Steaua topped Lazio 1-0 at the National Arena in Bucharest, and AEK Athens and Dynamo Kyiv shared the spoils in the Greek capital.

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

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