11/9/2018 1:39:06 AM

Arsenal progress despite Sporting stalemate

Arsenal progress despite Sporting stalemate

Paris, France: Arsenal booked a place in the Europa League knockout stage and extended their unbeaten run to 15 matches despite a 0-0 draw with Sporting Lisbon on Thursday.

Unai Emery's Gunners were the better side for long periods at the Emirates against a team who have already had three different managers this term, but had to settle for a point.

But Arsenal did secure a last-32 spot regardless, as Vorskla Poltava lost 1-0 at home to Azeri outfit Qarabag in the other Group E game.

A drab first half was delayed for several minutes when Danny Welbeck, given a rare start just hours after being named in Gareth Southgate's England squad, had to be stretchered off with what looked a nasty injury after seeing a header saved by Renan Ribeiro.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Welbeck's replacement, had the first real opening of the game but volleyed wide from just a few yards out early in the second half.

Arsenal continued to press for a winner but failed to find a way through the Sporting defence as Henrikh Mkhitaryan saw an effort saved at point-blank range by Ribeiro and Aubameyang was denied by a flying block.

Sporting were reduced to 10 men late on when former Barcelona centre-back Jeremy Mathieu brought down Aubameyang, but the Gabon forward blasted the resulting free-kick over the bar.

Reigning Scottish champions Celtic gave themselves a lifeline in Group B, as Odsonne Edouard's 79th-minute strike saw them beat RB Leipzig 2-1 in their must-win clash at Parkhead.

Salzburg, semi-finalists last season, qualified for the next round with a 5-2 thrashing of Rosenborg in the group's other match, with Japanese forward Takumi Minamino scoring a hat-trick.

Elsewhere, Eintracht Frankfurt reached the last 32 with their fourth win from as many group games by beating Apollon Limassol 3-2 in Cyprus, while Lazio joined them in progressing from Group H as goals from Marco Parolo and Joaquin Correa secured a 2-1 win over Marseille to eliminate last season's runners-up.

AC Milan stayed just a point adrift of Group F leaders Real Betis after Suso's second-half equaliser grabbed a 1-1 draw in Spain.

Record five-time winners Sevilla needed a late penalty from Ever Banega to claim a 3-2 victory at Akhisar Belediyespor, after having a man sent off, losing a two-goal lead and seeing the Turks miss a spot-kick of their own.

Pablo Machin's side are level with Krasnodar, who beat Standard Liege 2-1, at the top of Group J.

Bayer Leverkusen and FC Zurich both qualified from Group A.

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