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Europa League: Barcelona storms into quarters with Aubameyang goal; West Ham eliminates Sevilla

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored the winning goal for Barcelona to secure a 2-1 victory over Galatasaray on Thursday and send the struggling European powerhouse into the quarterfinals of the Europa League.

Aubameyang netted from close range four minutes into the second half as Barcelona came from a goal down to maintain its chances of ending the season with a trophy.

The Spanish giant, which is playing Europe’s second-tier competition after failing to advance to the Champions League knockout stages for the first time since 2004, was held to a 0-0 draw at home by the Turkish club in the first leg last week.

In the return leg, it looked to be in trouble when Marcao headed in the opener for Galatasaray off Alexandru Cicâldău’s corner in the 28th minute.

But 19-year-old Pedri went past two defenders both lunging to stop an expected shot before equalizing with a composed low finish past goalkeeper Iñaki Peña nine minutes later.

Aubameyang’s header hit the crossbar in the first-half injury time but was in the right place to turn in a squared pass from Frenkie de Jong, who had collected the rebound after a good save by Pena.

U.S. defender Sergino Dest limped off in the 56th minute after grabbing a hamstring.

Fellow Spanish team Sevilla was knocked out of the competition it has won a record six times, losing to West Ham after Ukraine forward Andriy Yarmolenko scored the decisive goal in extra time.

West Ham won 2-0 to advance 2-1 on aggregate, reaching the quarterfinals of a European competition for the first time since 1981.

Yarmolenko celebrates after scoring for West Ham, with his side knocking out six-time UECL Champions, Sevilla.   –  REUTERS

Yarmolenko netted his second goal in five days after also scoring for West Ham in the Premier League on Sunday in his first appearance since Russia’s invasion of his homeland. The substitute was on hand to tap in a rebound after Pablo Fornals’ shot was parried into his path.

Czech Republic midfielder Tomas Soucek headed in the opening goal for West Ham.

Borja Iglesias scored in the final minute for Real Betis to force extra time at Frankfurt but Martin Hinteregger netted for Eintracht in the final seconds of extra time to send the German club through 3-2 on aggregate.

Midfielder Mirko Ivanic gave Red Star some hope with a first-half goal before Ryan Kent’s deflected shot found the back of the net to restore a three-goal aggregate advantage for Rangers.

El FardouBen Nabouhane gave Red Star the consolation win on the night by converting a penalty in injury time.

Braga held a 2-0 advantage after the first leg and Abel Ruiz stretched it to three in Monaco before Axel Disasi equalized in the final minute.

Substitute Jeremie Boga scored the lone goal in second-half stoppage time to secure Atalanta’s 1-0 win at Leverkusen.

Leipzig advanced automatically as its opponent Spartak Moscow was among Russian clubs expelled from international competitions following the country’s military invasion of Ukraine.

Rangers reached the quarterfinals on a 4-2 aggregate score despite losing 2-1 to Red Star at Belgrade. Atalanta also advanced 4-2 on aggregate after winning 1-0 at Bayer Leverkusen while Portuguese club Braga progressed after holding Monaco 1-1.

Sevilla’s cross-city rival Betis was also eliminated by Eintracht Frankfurt in extra time.

Lyon beat Porto 2-1 on aggregate after a 1-1 draw at home.

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