In Brief

Europa League: Welbeck hits double as Arsenal dive into the last eight

Milan furious after the England striker’s theatrics win a controversial penalty

Arsenal 3 AC Milan 1 (Arsenal win 5-1 on aggregate)

Two goals from Danny Welbeck capped a great day for the Gunner as he helped his side ease into the last eight of the Europa League.

Given their 2-0 win last week in the San Siro, Arsenal were always in the driving seat of their last-16 tie against the Italian side, but there were an uncomfortable few minutes in the first half after Hakan Calhanoglu put the visitors in front.

Their lead lasted barely five minutes – just the time it took Welbeck to trick the officials with a dive in the AC Milan penalty area.

The Arsenal striker, who has been called into the England squad for this month’s friendlies against Holland and Italy, produced his theatrics right in front of the official standing behind the goalline. The official didn’t spot that the only contact between Welbeck and Ricardo Rodriguez was a slight brush of the shoulder.

Milan were furious, still remonstrating with the referee after Welbeck had coolly put the penalty in the back of their net. The Italians never recovered their composure. After the break they conceded two more goals, the first to Granit Xhaka, the second to Welbeck, who made it 3-1 on the night with a header four minutes from the end.

“I don’t want to talk about the referee,” said Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso. “He [Welbeck] is a striker. He has to do what he does, but we can’t use that as [the] entire influence of English football… there is a great deal of fair play in English football. I’m not going to judge.”

Gattuso appeared more angry with the way his players threw in the towel in the second half, commenting: “I’m very upset because in a few years’ time we’re only going to see 3-1 as the result. When you’re on the pitch, you should never give up and concede easy goals. The third goal really upset me.”

Wenger, who’s been critical in recent weeks of English players diving, was asked if he thought his side should have had a penalty.

“I don’t know,” he replied. “I will watch it again and give you my honest feeling about it. I will give him my honest feeling as well, don’t worry.”

The victory – Arsenal’s third in a week – is further evidence that the Gunners are slowly rebuilding after a nightmare start to the year in which they won just four out of 14 matches.

In the Europa League last-eight draw Arsenal will face CSKA Moscow. RB Leipzig will play Marseille, Atletico Madrid will face Sporting Lisbon and Lazio will take on RB Salzburg in the other ties.

Recommended

Team GB will make Olympic history with male and female flag bearers
Two-time Olympic gold medallist Andy Murray was Team GB’s flag bearer at Rio 2016
Sports Shorts

Team GB will make Olympic history with male and female flag bearers

F1 2021 season guide
F1 Bahrain Grand Prix
In Focus

F1 2021 season guide

Ryan Giggs denies charges of assaulting two women
Ryan Giggs leaves Manchester Magistrates’ Court
Sports Shorts

Ryan Giggs denies charges of assaulting two women

Nagelsmann to join Bayern in record €25m deal for a manager
Julian Nagelsmann will replace Hansi Flick as Bayern head coach
Sports Shorts

Nagelsmann to join Bayern in record €25m deal for a manager

Popular articles

London mayoral race 2021: who will win?
Night Tube Sadiq Khan
In Depth

London mayoral race 2021: who will win?

UK elections: why the results matter and who is tipped to win
Boris Johnson in Hartlepool
Getting to grips with . . .

UK elections: why the results matter and who is tipped to win

Hartlepool by-election polls: all the runners and the favourite to win
Hartlepool by-election
Fact file

Hartlepool by-election polls: all the runners and the favourite to win