LONDON – Traditional powers Manchester United, Arsenal and AC Milan and European debutants Granada were among the 15 clubs who qualified on Thursday for the Europa League round of 16.
Real Sociedad needed a miracle at Old Trafford to overcome a 4-0 deficit after the first leg in Spain.
A glimmer of hope appeared in the 15th minute, when United’s Daniel James conceded a penalty with a childish foul on Andoni Gorosabel, but Mikel Oyarzabal fired wide from the spot.
James and Bruno Fernandes came close for the hosts before Axel Tuanzebe put the ball in the Sociedad net in the 64th minute, only to see what would have been his first goal for the Red Devils disallowed for a foul by the attacking side in the buildup.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men advance 4-0 on aggregate.
Unlike Man United, Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal came into its second leg against Benfica with nothing settled, as the clubs drew 1-1 in the first leg in Portugal.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave the Gunners the edge in the 29th minute. The advantage only lasted until the 43rd minute, when Diogo Gonçalves brought Benfica level.
The visitors surged ahead with Rafa Silva’s goal in the 61st minute. Kieran Tierney answered for Arsenal six minutes later and the teams were deadlocked 3-3 with three minutes left in regulation when Aubameyang won the tie with a header.
Arsenal is through 4-3 on aggregate.
Granada, 2-0 winner in the first leg of its tie with Napoli, gave up a goal to Piotr Zielinski just three minutes into Thursday’s match.
Angel Montoro restored the two-goal advantage for the Spanish club in the 25th minute, making Fabian Ruiz’s goal for the hosts in the 59th minute academic.
Napoli prevailed 2-1 on the night, but Granada won 3-2 on aggregate to extend its European adventure for at least one more round.
The other LaLiga club in action on Thursday, Villarreal, topped Red Bull Salzburg 2-1 to advance 4-1 on aggregate.
AC Milan and Red Star Belgrade battled to a 1-1 draw on Thursday after deadlocking 2-2 in the first leg. The Rossoneri claim the spot in the knockout stage thanks to their two away goals in the Serbian capital.
Leicester City, currently third in the Premier League, fell 2-0 to Slavia Prague after a scoreless draw in the first leg and it is the Czech side that will be moving on to the next stage.
Young Boys led Bayer Leverkusen 4-3 after a wild first leg in Bern and they rolled 2-0 over the German club on Thursday to advance 6-3 on aggregate.
Lille, now leading Ligue 1, was eliminated from the Europa League on Thursday by Ajax, which beat the visitor 2-1 to qualify 4-2 on aggregate.
In Thursday’s other matches, Molde beat Hoffenheim 2-0 to reach the next round 5-3 on aggregate; Rangers romped 5-2 over Antwerp to win the tie 9-6; Dynamo Kyiv held Club Brugge 1-0 for a 2-1 aggregate win; Shakhtar Donetsk nipped Maccabi Tel-Aviv 1-0 to prevail 3-0 on aggregate; AS Roma rolled 3-1 over Braga to advance 5-1; Dinamo Zagreb edged Krasnodar 1-0 for a 4-2 triumph on aggregate; and PSV beat Olympiacos 2-1, but the Greek club won the aggregate 5-4.
Rounding out the final 16 is Tottenham Hotspur, which crushed Austrian side Wolfsberger AC 4-0 on Wednesday for an 8-1 triumph on aggregate.