Paris: AC Milan cruised past Sparta Prague 3-0 for their second straight win Thursday in the Europa League. However in a stunning development Tottenham Hotspur lost 0-1 at newcomer Antwerp in another match of the Europa League played on the night.
AC Milan easily overcame a missed penalty by Zlatan Ibrahimovic to remain unbeaten in 23 games in all competitions this season. However, Tottenham saw their 10-match unbeaten run end. This happened despite Gareth Bale featuring in the starting lineup for a second straight time.
Fellow Premier League clubs captured their second straight win. Leicester City beat AEK Athens 2-1 away while Arsenal scored three goals in a four-minute span either side of half time in a 3-0 victory over Irish club Dundalk.
Antwerp took the lead in the 29th minute when Dieumerci Mbokani stole a sloppy pass from defender Ben Davis. He then passed the ball to fellow forward Lior Refaelov to score the winning goal.
Manager José Mourinho retained only two players in the starting lineup from the squad that beat Burnley 1-0 in the PL, Monday. However, the players failed to impress and Mourinho made four substitutions at half time. He didn’t wait much longer before replacing Bale with striker Harry Kane in the 58th, but Spurs never created serious chances to score an equaliser.
AC Milan march on
Ibrahimovic didn’t score but made his presence felt in the first 45 minutes of the game in Group H. The 39-year-old veteran crossed for Brahim Díaz from the right to net the opening goal with a shot between the legs of Sparta goalkeeper Milan Heca in the 24th minute. However, Ibrahimovic missed a golden opportunity to add to the tally when he hit the crossbar from the spot.
Ibrahimovich was replaced by Rafael Leão in the second half. The substitute made it 2-0 from close range after he was set up by a precise cross from Diogo Dalot. The latter added the third after a solo run in the 67th.
Quick goals by Gunners
Pressing from the start, Arsenal looked frustrated as Dundalk’s defense held firm. Then, it fell apart late in the first half. Eddie Nketiah netted the opening goal in the 42nd from close range following a corner. Two minutes later, Joe Willock collected the ball after Nicolas Pépé’s shot was blocked by Andy Boyle to score high into the net to double the lead. Just half a minute into the second half, Pépé curled in a strike from the edge of the area.
Jamie Vardy put Leicester ahead in Athens after earning and converting a penalty in the 18th minute. An unmarked Hamza Choudhury made it 2-0 for Brendan Rodgers’s team before substitute Muamer Tankovic pulled one back for AEK in the 49th.