Europa League round-up: Jota hat-trick completes dominant Wolves win

Lacazette ends drought to give Arsenal the advantage; Hagi double seals Rangers’ comeback

Wolves’ Diogo Jota completes his hat-trick in scoring his side’s fourth goal during the Europa League round of 32 first-leg match against Espanyol   at Molineux. Photograph:  Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Wolves’ Diogo Jota completes his hat-trick in scoring his side’s fourth goal during the Europa League round of 32 first-leg match against Espanyol at Molineux. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

 

Wolves 4 Espanyol 0

Diogo Jota’s hat-trick and Ruben Neves’s thunderbolt kept Wolves’ Europa League dream alive after a dominant victory over Espanyol.

Forward Jota now has six goals in his last two European games after helping Wanderers to a 4-0 win over the La Liga strugglers which puts them on the brink of reaching the last 16.

The hosts still lived dangerously in the first half when Rui Patricio denied Facundo Ferreyra after the goalkeeper’s error.

Ander Iturraspe escaped a first-half red card after clashing with Jota, but the visitors were well beaten in the first leg of their last-32 clash.

Olympiacos 0 Arsenal 1

Arsenal have one foot in the last 16 after Alexandre Lacazette ended a frustrating night by tucking home a late winner at Olympiacos in Greece.

The France international ended a nine-game scoring drought off the bench against Newcastle at the weekend and returned to the starting line-up in Piraeus to hit the winner for the Gunners.

Lacazette had earlier been guilty of missing the best chance of the night, before he turned home Bukayo Saka’s cross with nine minutes remaining.

Beaten finalists last season, Arsenal will now have a lead to defend in the round-of-32 second leg at the Emirates Stadium in a week’s time as their defence once again stood tall.

Rangers 3 Sporting Braga 2

Ianis Hagi delighted both his watching father Gheorghe and the Ibrox faithful as his double sent Rangers to a breathless 3-2 comeback victory over Braga.

On a wild night in Glasgow, with the Ibrox pitch again in a terrible state, it appeared Gers were set to slip up as the Portuguese visitors grabbed a two-goal lead.

First Braga’s Brazilian skipper Fransergio tamed the conditions with a stunning long-range opener before on-loan Barcelona striker Abel Ruiz added a clinical second.

But Rangers refused to lie down as they hit back to preserve Steven Gerrard’s 15-game unbeaten home run in Europe as Light Blues boss and take a major step towards the last 16.

Hagi got the fightback started as he reduced the deficit before playing a part in Joe Aribo’s equaliser.

And the Romania international then had his dad – former Real Madrid and Barcelona great Gheorghe – cheering from his seat in the Ibrox directors’ box along with the rest of the jubilant Gers faithful as his late deflected free-kick crept into the net to seal a narrow victory.

However, Gerrard’s team will have to rely on-loan Hibernian striker Florian Kamberi to spearhead their attack in the second leg after Alfredo Morelos was booked, meaning he is ruled him out of next Wednesday’s trip to Portugal.

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