Europa League: Arsenal, Chelsea Breeze into Last 16

Premier League giants Arsenal and Chelsea put aside their domestic form to reach the Europa League last 16 on Thursday.

Arsenal beat BATE Borisov 3-0 after a 1-0 first-leg defeat by the Belarus champions while Chelsea took some of the pressure off embattled coach Maurizio Sarri with a 3-0 home defeat of Malmo which gave them a 5-1 aggregate win over the Swedish side.

Rattled by embarrassing domestic defeats, Chelsea looked jittery before Olivier Giroud settled their nerves with a close range tap-in shortly after halftime at Stamford Bridge following good work by N’Golo Kante and Willian in the build-up.

Malmo had central defender Magnus Bengtsson sent off in the 73rd minute for a second bookable offence, moments before Ross Barkley curled in a delightful freekick from 20 metres.

Callum Hudson-Odoi put the icing on the cake in the closing stages with a fierce low shot from inside the penalty area, boosting Chelsea’s confidence ahead of Sunday’s clash with Manchester City in the League Cup final at Wembley.

An early Zakhar Volkov own goal put Arsenal on level terms at the Emirates stadium as the defender turned a low cross by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang into his own net in a frantic opening.

Shkodran Mustafi made it 2-0 with a thumping header from a Granit Xhaka corner and the Switzerland midfielder delivered another impressive set-piece for Sokratis Papastathopoulos to head home on the hour.

Eintracht Frankfurt beat Shakhtar Donetsk 4-1 to earn a 6-3 overall victory and Napoli, winners of the Uefa Cup in 1989, had no problems beating FC Zurich 2-0 at home to advance 5-1 on aggregate.

Inter Milan, the winners of three European Cup and Uefa Cup titles apiece, also strolled through with a 4-0 home win over Rapid Vienna which completed a 5-0 dismissal.

Salzburg were the other big winners as their 4-0 home rout of Club Bruges gave the Austrian side a 5-2 aggregate win while two goals from Iran forward Sardar Azmoun handed Zenit St Petersburg a 3-2 overall success against Fenerbahce.

Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb thrashed Viktora Plzen 3-0 for a 4-2 aggregate win over the Czechs while a Kevin Gameiro goal gave Valencia a 1-0 win over 10-man Celtic who had Jeremy Toljan sent off in the first half.

Bayer Leverkusen were the surprise casualties after a 1-1 home draw with Krasnodar sent the Russian side through on away goals and Real Betis were beaten by Rennes 6-4 on aggregate following a 3-1 home defeat by the French side.

Slavia Prague stunned Belgians Genk 4-1 away after a goalless first leg and Dynamo Kiev edged Olympiacos 3-2 on aggregate thanks to a 1-0 home win in the return fixture.

A 0-0 home draw with Galatasaray was enough to see former European Cup winners Benfica through after their 2-1 away win a fortnight ago.

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