Arsenal and Chelsea win to set up all-English Europa League final
Chelsea fans left biting their nails as Arsenal make light work of Valencia
The Europa League final will be contested by Arsenal and Chelsea, adding to the two English finalists for the Champions League.
A hat-trick by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sealed a final spot for Arsenal after they scored four away from home against Valencia, although the visitors looked shaky after conceding a goal from Kevin Gameiro.
Arsenal’s leading scorer Aubameyang levelled the score before Alexandre Lacazette’s swivel and curling shot put the Gunners ahead in the second half.
Valencia squeezed in a second to keep themselves in contention, but Arsenal’s star striker scored another two, with the best saved until last.
The Gabon forward played a one-two before he collected Ainsley Maitland-Niles’s sweeping cross first time, completing his hat-trick two minutes from time.
The 4-2 win, 7-3 on aggregate over two legs, means Arsenal are now one step closer to Champions League qualification.
London neighbours Chelsea left their fans biting their nails on Thursday, being taken to a penalty shootout by Eintracht Frankfurt.
Eden Hazard scored the winning penalty for Chelsea to beat the Germans 4-3.
The lively semi-final contest finished 1-1 after the sides had produced the same scoreline in Frankfurt a week ago.
Chelsea had looked in charge half an hour into the game when Hazard, tipped to leave the club this summer, dodged and shimmied round the Frankfurt defence on the left flank before pushing a perfectly weighted pass into the path of Ruben Loftus Cheek for the England midfielder to score in the 28th minute.
But three minutes after the break Luka Jovic split the defence, playing a neat one-two with Mijat Gacinovic before shooting home past stranded Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga to even the scoreline.
The visitors had the psychological advantage and pressed 2013 champions Chelsea with Jovic, Ante Rebic and Danny da Costa constantly dangerous going forward looking for the valuable second away goal.
At the other end Olivier Giroud, Willian and substitutes Davide Zappacosta and Gonzalo Higuain squandered chances in an error-strewn last 20 minutes of normal time and frantic end-to-end half hour of extra time.
Arrizabalaga saved penalties from Martin Hinteregger and Goncalo Paciencia in the shootout while Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta also saw his shot stopped.
Updated: May 10, 2019 03:14 AM