Italy Soccer Europa League
Manchester's Bruno Fernandes celebrates scoring his side's opening goal during the Europa League, round of 32, first-leg soccer match between Real Sociedad and Manchester United, at the Allianz Stadium in Turin, Italy, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021. (Marco Alpozzi/LaPresse via AP)
soccer

Man United, Spurs win big in relocated Europa League games

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By CIARÁN FAHEY

Bruno Fernandes scored twice as Manchester United took a big step toward the last 16 of the Europa League with a 4-0 “away” win over Spanish team Real Sociedad in Italy on Thursday.

The first leg of was played in Turin due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions on visitors from Britain to Spain during the pandemic.

Fernandes had Sociedad’s defense to thank for his first goal in the 27th, when two defenders collided with their own goalkeeper, leaving him free to score into an empty net. He then finished off a quick counterattack to make it 2-0 in the 57th. Fernandes let Marcus Rashford’s pass go behind him to Daniel James, then received the ball back and fired inside the right post.

Rashford added the third in the 64th and James completed the scoring in the last minute.

United is playing in the Europa League for the third time in five seasons, a drop for a club once regarded as a continental heavyweight.

BALE'S BOW

Gareth Bale reminded his detractors of his qualities as he scored one goal and set up another to help Tottenham defeat Austrian team Wolfsberg 4-1 in Budapest, Hungary. That game was also moved due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions for British visitors.

The Wales forward, back at Tottenham on loan from Real Madrid to the end of the season, cut the ball back for Son Heung-min to open the scoring in the 13th, before he illustrated why Madrid paid Tottenham a record transfer fee for his services in 2013.

Bale showed Matt Doherty exactly where he wanted the ball, outpaced Jonathan Scherzer to reach it, then stopped to leave the Wolfsberg defender sprawling, before curling a powerful shot past goalkeeper Alexander Kofler with his left boot.

Bale has been struggling in his second spell at Tottenham, making just seven Premier League appearances. He recently irked José Mourinho for posting “Good session today” on Instagram with the Tottenham coach saying there was “ a contradiction between the post and the reality.”

Lucas Moura eluded a number of defenders to make it 3-0 in the 34th.

A penalty from Michael Liendl gave the Austrians some hope in the second half, but Vinicius, who had come on during the break for Son, scored from close range in the 88th.

Wolfsberg is playing for the first time in the knockout stages of a European competition.

LEVERKUSEN UNREWARDED

Bayer Leverkusen fought back from three goals down at the break against Young Boys, before Jordan Siebatcheu scored in the 89th to give the Swiss team a 4-3 win.

“We showed we're a team in the second half,” Leverkusen captain Jonathan Tah said. “It's disappointing and such a shame to lose in the end.”

The German team is used to disappointment, mockingly called “Bayer Neverkusen” by rival supporters for often finishing runner-up.

Milan Pavkov scored in injury time for Red Star Belgrade to draw 2-2 against visiting AC Milan.

Also, Dynamo Kyiv drew 1-1 with Club Brugge, Leicester drew 0-0 at Slavia Prague, Roma won 2-0 at Sporting Braga, Dinamo Zagreb beat Russian team Krasnodar 3-2 away, Olympiakos earned a 4-2 win at home over PSV Eindhoven, while Bukayo Saka earned Arsenal a 1-1 draw at Benfica.

© Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.


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