Arsenal advanced to the Champions League quarterfinals with a decisive 3-1 victory against Manchester United at Emirates Stadium.
A Nuno Tavares tap-in, a penalty from Bukayo Saka, and a screamer from Granit Xhaka were the difference in a tense match in North London, where Cristiano Ronaldo also left his imprint by scoring his 100th League goal.
Ralf Rangnick: Manchester United need ‘open-heart surgery’ to recover https://t.co/te3eGefKW6
— The Guardian (@guardian) April 22, 2022
Arsenal dominated the first three minutes of the game, taking the lead. Xhaka’s cross eluded two United defenders and fell to Saka at the back post, where his effort was parried into the path of Tavares, who tapped in.
After Ronaldo slid a through ball into the feet of Anthony Elanga, who failed to finish his one-on-one opportunity, United nearly immediately answered.
As the tide began to change, United’s Bruno Fernandes wasted a fantastic chance before Elanga’s penalty request was denied. Following some superb United movement on the outside of the box, Ronaldo skied a half-chance before Diogo Dalot struck the crossbar.
Before the half-hour mark, Eddie Nketiah appeared to have increased Arsenal’s advantage by sliding a loose ball into the net from close range. The offside flag was raised against the youthful striker, and VAR was brought in to verify the goal.
The offside judgment was upheld, but Arsenal were awarded a penalty after Alex Telles was deemed to have fouled Saka in the buildup. Saka took a step forward and pushed David de Gea away from the ball.
United was granted a penalty ten minutes into the second period when Tavares handled the ball in the area, but Fernandes’ poor attempt hit the post.
United remained dangerous, and Ronaldo had a goal disallowed shortly after the hour mark. Following a flick on from Scott McTominay, he volleyed in from a close range, but the Portuguese drifted just offside. Read more: First Hydrogen Train Hits the Rail for Test Run in Japan.
The Gunners sat back and maintained their two-goal lead, claiming a massive three points and extending their lead over sixth-placed United to six points.
Ralf Rangnick’s team has a lot of work to do if they want to compete in the Champions League next season, while Arsenal is back in contention to finish in the top four.