Ajax knocked out of Europa League by Getafe

By Sports Desk February 27, 2020

Getafe continued their sensational season by dumping Ajax out of the Europa League on Thursday, the LaLiga high-flyers progressing 3-2 on aggregate despite a 2-1 away defeat.

Jose Bordalas' side won a bad-tempered first leg 2-0 against last season's Champions League semi-finalists and they extended their advantage in the fifth minute of the reverse fixture when Jaime Mata struck.

That left Ajax needing four goals to progress but Danilo, making his first start for the club, tapped in Donny van de Beek's low cross five minutes later to equalise on the night.

Carel Eiting whipped a deflected free-kick past David Soria in the 63rd minute to give Ajax some hope, though Getafe progressed despite being denied by the woodwork on three occasions.

Elsewhere in the round of 32, Istanbul Basaksehir produced a stunning comeback to knock out Sporting CP 5-4 on aggregate, Edin Visca scoring the winner in extra time, while Shakhtar Donetsk beat Benfica 5-4 on aggregate after a thrilling 3-3 draw in the second leg in Lisbon.

Sevilla, who won the Europa League three times in a row under Unai Emery between 2014 and 2016, edged through their tie with Cluj on away goals after a 1-1 aggregate draw.

The Romanian champions were denied a famous victory when Alexandru Paun's late strike was ruled out following a VAR check that ruled Lacina Traore handled the ball.

Last year's finalists Arsenal crashed out in extraordinary circumstances with captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's overhead kick having seemingly secured their progress only for Youssef El-Arabi to strike in the last minute of extra time to send Olympiacos through on away goals.

Manchester United, Inter, Roma, Wolfsburg and Bayer Leverkusen were among the major sides to progress, with the draw for the last 16 set to be made in Nyon on Friday.

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    Frank Lampard was in no mood to play the blame game after an error from Thiago Silva on his Premier League debut and says the Brazil centre-back will become crucial for Chelsea.

    Silva was at fault for the second of West Brom's three first-half goals at The Hawthorns, as the Blues had to fight back from an error-strewn opening 45 minutes to draw 3-3 thanks to Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Tammy Abraham.

    It was the veteran defender's first action in the Premier League at the age of 36 and it was an unfortunate slip in an otherwise steady top-flight bow.

    Chelsea boss Lampard said Silva is experienced enough to own up to his mistakes without the need for him to pile in too.

    "Listen Thiago Silva is going to be fantastic for us, he's been incredible in his career," Lampard told a post-match news conference. 

    "I will not look at him, I can talk about the mistakes - they're clear and we have to be open and honest about that, but I'll not put any blame on him. We're a team that has to react around that and to be fair the team did in the second half. 

    "It's nothing on Thiago, I'm sure he'll stand up and say it was a mistake, other than that I thought he was faultless in the game.

    "That's his first Premier League game done and in the bank, we'll get more from him as he gets fitter and the team gets fitter." 

    Chelsea's equaliser had a hint of fortune, with Kai Havertz potentially handballing in the area in the build-up.

    West Brom boss Slaven Bilic, who also felt there a was a foul prior to Hudson-Odoi bringing it back to 3-2, had no doubts the gal should have been chalked off.

    "The third goal is very difficult to accept," Bilic said. "For me that is so clear that I don't even want to talk about it, it is obvious. 

    "It's not maybe, it's not possibly handball, it is handball that's end of story, full stop. How someone can say that's not a handball is beyond me."

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    Chelsea were staring down the barrel of an unexpected defeat at The Hawthorns after an inept display of defending saw them 3-0 down inside 27 minutes.

    Errors from Marcos Alonso and Premier League debutant Thiago Silva saw Callum Robinson score twice before Kyle Bartley benefitted from more poor defending at a corner.

    But Mason Mount and substitute Callum Hudson-Odoi brought Chelsea back into the game before a third academy graduate in the form of Tammy Abraham rescued a point in injury time.

    "It's two points dropped and that's no disrespect to West Brom," Chelsea boss Lampard told Sky Sports. 

    "But to come here and sort of understand the game and know that transition and mistakes is something they'd try to jump on, counter-attack against us and [use] set-pieces – we spoke about it before the game and you can't legislate for pure mistakes, which they were today. 

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    "They were clear mistakes, the first one Marcos heads it into the middle of the pitch for them to make the transition. The Thiago one is a mistake, he's been around long enough to know that and we'll certainly give him that one in his first game. Then Marcos loses his man for the third goal from the corner. 

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    Lampard felt the introductions of Cesar Azpilicueta and Hudson-Odoi at half-time brought a different dimension to Chelsea.

    "It brought a bit of urgency, a bit of speed of pass to move it," he added. 

    "Azpi brings personality straight into the team even at left-back. Callum one-v-one brought something different, he got at people. Those are things Callum can and needs to do, he made a big difference."

    Lampard said the fact Chelsea created going forward meant it was an easy message to try and lift his team at the break and is convinced a new-look squad will come good.

    "We created two or three really great chances in first half and i thought we'd create more," he said. 

    "The only problem when you're 3-0 down is West Brom are going to seriously protect the lead which means dropping back, frustrating moments and it was about staying patient. We did that to a big degree. 

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    But the visitors were able to breathe a sigh of relief after a second-half revival in which Mason Mount and Callum Hudson-Odoi scored before Abraham netted a stoppage-time leveller.

    And the England forward praised the impact his manager made at half-time in picking his side up off the floor.

    "We all went in and our heads were down and he had to lift us up," Abraham told Sky Sports.

    "He said we didn't look like a team ready to go out and win and we needed to pick each other up in the second half.

    "Thankfully Mason got the goal which meant we could believe. I knew we'd get chances but to come back from 3-0 is never easy. The boys deserve credit, they kept going."

    The opening 45 minutes was a strange spectacle indeed, with Slaven Bilic's men finding themselves three goals to the good despite having very little of the game.

    And Abraham conceded Chelsea had made life hard for themselves, while lamenting a missed opportunity of his own.

    "In the first half we made it difficult for ourselves. I had a chance I should have put away and one I should be taking at this level," he said.

    "They scored from every shot. We knew we had to come out in the second half and not drop our heads – and that's what we did.

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