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Europa League Round of 32 Second Legs Preview

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Unlike the Champions League, we only have to wait a week to see the climax of the round of 32 stage in the Europa League, with all the second leg fixtures taking place this Thursday, besides Sporting Braga's clash with Rangers which takes place on Wednesday.

Ahead of the second legs, we recap some of the key events and scores from the first legs and see what the reverse fixtures could provide us with.

English Involvement

The first legs were almost perfect for the English sides in the competition, with both Arsenal and Wolves picking up victories to take into the second legs. Manchester United, on the other hand, could only take a 1-1 draw against Club Brugge back to Old Trafford, as Anthony Martial saved the Red Devils.

Arsenal also faced an away trip in their first leg as they headed to Greece to face Greek Super League leaders Olympiacos. The game looked destined to finish goalless before Alexandre Lacazette stepped up for Arsenal and put the Gunners ahead with 10 minutes remaining, therefore giving the north London side a healthy lead in the second leg at the Emirates.

Wolves were the only English side to play at home in their first leg tie, as they welcomed Spanish side Espanyol to Molineux in what was their first European knockout match since their 80/81 UEFA Cup tie against PSV Eindhoven. Nuno Santo’s side celebrated the occasion by recording the biggest victory of the round so far in an emphatic 4-0 win, with a Ruben Neves stunner and a Diogo Jota hat-trick essentially confirming Wolves’ place in the round of 16 ahead of the return leg in Spain.

Wolves are 13/8 to win with Sky Bet, whilst Arsenal are 8/15 and United are priced at 4/9.

For Scotland

Rangers’ hopes of Europa League glory looked bleak an hour into their first leg tie against Braga at Ibrox, with the Portuguese side going 2-0 up with half an hour remaining. Rangers had no intention of accepting defeat as a goal from Joe Aribo and an Ianis Hagi double completed a miraculous comeback for the Teddy Bears and a lead going into their return leg in Portugal.

Elsewhere, the green side of Glasgow headed to Scandinavia for their first leg as Celtic faced Danish champions, Copenhagen, with the Hoops getting off to a perfect start after Odsonne Edouard opened the scoring after 14 minutes to give Celtic a vital away goal.

The Hoops, however, were unable to keep hold of their lead as Copenhagen equalised seven minutes into the second half with the game ending 1-1.

Celtic are 4/9 to win in 90 minutes and are 1/6 to qualify for the next round with Sky bet. Rangers are 16/5 to beat Braga in 90 minutes and are priced at 10/11 to qualify with Sky Bet.

First Leg Shocks

One of the biggest shocks of the round saw last season’s Champions League semi-finalists and one of the favourites to win this competition, Ajax, suffer a 2-0 away defeat to Spanish side Getafe. However, considering that the Dutch side have scored at least three goals in six of their last 10 home games, an Ajax comeback isn’t out of the question by any means.

Another surprising result to take place during the first legs involved another Champions League drop out as RB Salzburg suffered a 4-1 defeat to an Eintracht Frankfurt side who had lost six of their last 10 games, with the sale of Erling Haaland to Borussia Dortmund last month clearly taking its toll on RB Salzburg.

Ajax are 7/2 to qualify with Sky Bet and are 11/4 to score 3+ goals at the Amsterdam Arena.

All Fixtures

Below are all of the Europa League round of 32 second legs and the aggregate scores from the first legs:

  • Istanbul Basaksehir (1) vs (3) Sporting CP
  • Ajax (0) vs (2) Getafe
  • Celtic (1) vs (1) Copenhagen
  • Sevilla (1) vs (1) Cluj
  • Manchester United (1) vs (1) Club Brugge
  • Inter (2) vs (0) Ludogorets
  • RB Salzburg (1) vs (4) Eintracht Frankfurt
  • Benfica (1) vs (2) Shakhtar Donetsk
  • Espanyol (0) vs (4) Wolves
  • Porto (1) vs (2) Bayer Leverkusen
  • Basel (3) vs (0) Apoel
  • Arsenal (1) vs (0) Olympiacos
  • LASK (1) vs (1) AZ Alkmaar
  • Malmo (1) vs (2) Wolfsburg
  • Gent (0) vs (1) Roma
  • Braga (2) vs (3) Rangers