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Europa League round-up: Loftus-Cheek inspires Milan victory
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Press Association
Ruben Loftus-Cheek scored twice for AC Milan against Rennes
Ruben Loftus-Cheek scored twice for AC Milan against Rennes

Ruben Loftus-Cheek scored twice as AC Milan triumphed 3-0 over Rennes in the first leg of their Europa League knockout round play-off.

The England international continued his fine recent form in front of goal with strikes in the 32nd and 47th minutes, with Rafael Leao adding a third in the 52nd.

Milan, who finished third in their Champions League group, have one foot in the last 16 ahead of next week's second leg.

There was a big away win for Azerbaijani champions Qarabag, who defeated Braga 4-2 in Portugal.

Marko Jankovic opened the scoring for the visitors from the penalty spot midway through the first half but Simon Branza levelled matters just before the break.

However, Qarabag were not to be denied and an Abdellah Zoubir brace and Juninho goal put them clear before Joao Moutinho grabbed a late second for Braga from the penalty spot.

It was a better night for the other Portuguese sides, with Sporting Lisbon and Benfica both winning.

Sporting will fancy their chances of going through after beating Young Boys 3-1 away from home.

An own goal from Aurele Amenda was followed by a penalty from Viktor Gyokeres before the Swiss side pulled one back just before half-time through Filip Ugrinic.

Goncalo Inacio restored the two-goal advantage three minutes after the restart and Young Boys finished with 10 men after Mohamed Ali Camara was sent off late on.

Benfica still have work to do against Toulouse after snatching a late 2-1 victory courtesy of two Angel Di Maria penalties.

The first was cancelled out by Mikkel Desler but the second came eight minutes into stoppage time after Christian Mawissa was shown a red card.

Both sides finished with 10 men as Galatasaray defeated Sparta Prague 3-2 in Istanbul.

Kerem Demirbay scored the only goal of the first half but Angelo Preciado levelled for Sparta two minutes after the break.

Dries Mertens put Gala back ahead on the hour mark before Victor Nelsson was sent off.

Jan Kuchta promptly equalised again only for Matej Rynes to pick up a second yellow card 10 minutes from time and Mauro Icardi to find a stoppage-time winner for the hosts.

There was also a dramatic finish in Hamburg, where Shakhtar Donetsk — continuing to play away from their war-torn homeland — drew 2-2 with Marseille.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put the French side ahead just after the hour but the lead only lasted for two minutes before Mykola Matviyenko equalised.

And history repeated itself at the end of the match, with Iliman Ndiaye appearing to win it for the visitors only for Eguinaldo to level.

Romelu Lukaku cancelled out Igor Paixao’s opener as Roma claimed a 1-1 draw against Feyenoord, while Lens and Freiburg finished goalless.


Europa LeagueAC MilanRennesQarabag FKBragaSporting CPYoung BoysBenficaToulouseGalatasaraySparta PragueShakhtar DonetskMarseilleRomaFeyenoordLensFreiburg
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