Football Features

Dzeko joins legends plus other stats & stories you might have missed from the Europa League quarter-final second legs

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 22:33, 15 April 2021

This evening saw the Europa League quarter-final stage conclude with four clubs left vying for silverware.

Roma, Manchester United, Arsenal and Villarreal all successfully booked a place in the last four but with so much happening it’s only natural if you miss an important or memorable event.

But don’t fret, Squawka is here, with five things you might have missed from tonight’s action.

1. Consistency

It remains to be seen if Edinson Cavani will be at Manchester United next season as his present deal expires this summer. The 34-year-old marksman has been heavily linked with Argentine powerhouse Boca Juniors though nothing is yet finalised. His immediate focus though remains helping the Red Devils finish this campaign on a strong note.

Having only made his Europa League debut for the club last time out Granada, a 24 minute cameo, he started in the return leg and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s decision swiftly paid off when he converted a Paul Pogba pass inside the opening 10 minutes. This latest strike meant Cavani has now scored in European competition for the 11th consecutive season with this being his first Europa League effort since December 2012 when he breached PSV Eindhoven’s defence whilst representing Napoli. On top of that he became the first Uruguayan player to reach 50 goals in UEFA club competition. Not bad.

2. Teenage sensation

A penny for Gareth Southgate’s thoughts. When the day comes to announce England’s squad for this summer’s European Championship you can bet there will be many hot takes. Right now a number of individuals are riding high, notably Phil Foden and Jude Bellingham, both are young and hungry. The same can be said about Bakary Saka who is arguably Arsenal’s most outstanding player at the moment. Heading into this season he was given the club’s fabled ‘number seven’ jersey — previously worn by such luminaries as Robert Pires, David Rocastle and Liam Brady — a sign of his newfound status.

To say the 19-year-old forward is living up to expectations is an understatement. Slavia Prague would have done their homework, but it wasn’t enough, by scoring the Gunners third in the Czech capital Saka moved onto four goals for Arsenal in European competition (excluding qualifiers) which is the joint-most by any teenager for the club putting him alongside Charlie George and Ray Kennedy. If he’s able to live up to the aforementioned pair standards, which he’s given himself a great chance of doing, then Arsenal will have an excellent footballer on their hands.

3. Chasing Rossi

It’s been a couple of months to remember for Gerard Moreno who is currently enjoying his most prolific campaign to date in front of goal. Heading into tonight’s game against Dinamo Zagreb the 10-time Spanish international bagged 24 goals across 34 matches in all competitions. By registering against the Croatian giants Moreno has netted six Europa League goals for Villarreal this season which subsequently moves him onto 13 for the club. Only Giuseppe Rossi (16) has found the net more times in major European competition for Villarreal than him. With the way things are going it might not be long before that record falls.

4. Super sub

It was too little too late but RB Leipzig-bound Brian Brobbey nevertheless leaves boyhood club Ajax with an impressive European record. Despite the omission of Sébastien Haller — due to an incredible administrative error which saw him not being included in their Europa League squad list — manager Erik ten Hag has opted to field Dusan Tadic in a ‘false nine’ role understandably given prior success. However, the 19-year-old came on for the start of the second half and made an immediate impact.

By netting minutes after being introduced Brobbey has now scored in three different European knockout stage matches coming on as a substitute this season. Before this evening he scored the winner against Lille (round of 32 first leg) and the club’s third against Young Boys (round of 16 first leg). You have to go back to the 2007/08 season for the last time a Dutch player made similar waves: Ryan Babel, then representing Liverpool, when he found the net in four games.

5. Big Three becomes Fab Four

Speaking of strikers on the opposite end at the Stadio Olimpico is evergreen Bosnian marksman Edin Dzeko whose late equaliser put the game to bed and sent Roma to a first Europa League semi-final in 30 years. Dzeko’s strike was also significant for another reason as it was number 30 for the Giallorossi in European competition. Before today’s game Dzeko had scored more goals in major European competition for Roma than any other player in the club’s history.

Reaching this particular feat means he sits alongside illustrious company. Right now only three other players are able to say they’ve scored 30 or more goals for a single Italian club in European competition (European Cup/Champions League and Europa League): Alessandro Del Piero (46 for Juventus), Filippo Inzaghi (36 for AC Milan) and Andriy Shevchenko (33 for AC Milan).