Europa League: Chukwueze, Olayinka On Course For Semifinals Showdown

Chukwueze during the football match between Villarreal CF and CD Leganes on April 21, 2019 at Ceramica Stadium in Villarreal, Spain. Cordon Press

Samuel Chukwueze and Peter Olayinka remain on course to meet in the semifinals of the Europa League after their clubs posted positive results in their respective quarterfinals first leg encounters on Thursday.

Chukwueze was on for 70 minutes as Villarreal picked up a hugely important win at Dinamo Zagreb courtesy of Gerard Moreno’s spot kick just before half time.

The win puts Villarreal in control of the tie ahead of the second leg next Thursday.

It was also a fruitful evening for Olayinka who lasted 85 minutes as Slavia Prague scored what could prove to be pivotal away goal in a 1-1 draw with Arsenal at the Emirates.

Following a goalless first half, the game came to life in the second period as substitute Nicolas Pepe gave the Gunners the lead in 86th-minute.

What looked like a narrow win for the Gunners became advantage Slavia as Tomas Holes gave the visitors a significant lifeline with an equaliser in the fourth minute of added time.

Should Slavia and Villarreal come through their respective ties, they’ll meet in the semifinals which will see Chukwueze and Olayinka battle each other for a place in the final.

Elsewhere, Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes both scored either side of halftime to hand Manchester United a 2-0 at Granada.

Rashford made it 20 goals for the season with superb control of Victor Lindelof’s floated pass and a smart finish while Fernandes scored from the spot as United assumed control of the tie.

There was also an away win for AS Roma who beat Ajax 2-1 in Amsterdam with Lorenzo Pellegrini and Roger Ibanez on target.

Davy Klaassen had put Ajax in front in the first half and Dusan Tadic then missed a penalty after the break before Roma turned things around.

The return legs of all four ties comes up on Thursday, 14 April.