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Europa League: Arsenal survive Benfica scare as Leicester, Napoli crashes out

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a brace to help Arsenal defeat Benfica 3-2 in the return fixture of their Uefa Europa League Round of 32 clashes on Thursday.

Aubameyang opened the scoring at the Emirates Stadium in the 21st minute and later grabbed the match-winning goal in the 87th minute when the game was tied at 2-2.

The 2015 African Footballer of the Year has now scored nine goals in seven of his last eight cup appearances for the Gunners – four goals in the FA Cup, three goals in the Europa League, and one goal in the FA Community Shield.

Arsenal progressed to the Round of 16 with a 4-3 aggregate victory over their Portuguese visitors on Thursday.

Also, Leicester City’s Europa League dream came to an end after the Foxes recorded a shock 2-0 home defeat to Slavia Prague.

Brendan Rodgers’ side was in the driving seat ahead of the match, having recorded a 0-0 draw in the first leg in the Czech Republic a week ago.

But after a goalless first half, the visitors came to life, with two second-half efforts giving them the win they deserved.

Leicester are the only English team to have been eliminated. Tottenham’s place in the last 16 on Wednesday, while Arsenal’s dramatic comeback against Benfica sealed their spot on Thursday and the north London duo were later joined by Manchester United.

In other matches, Napoli was unable to overturn the two-goal deficit they carried into the second leg of their Europa League last 32 ties with Granada, with the Serie A side crashing out despite a 2-1 win on Thursday evening.

Gennaro Gattuso’s side secured the win on the night thanks to goals from Piotr Zieliński and Fabian Ruiz, but a first-half strike from Granada’s Angel Montoro meant it was the La Liga outfit who progressed through to the last 16 of the competition.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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