MATCHDAY: Arsenal plays Sporting, Man U has lead over Betis
A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Thursday:
On course for a first Premier League title in 19 years, Arsenal doesn't seem to mind having European commitments to clog up its end-of-season schedule. Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta maintains winning the Europa League is an important objective for the club and continues to make only minor lineup changes in the competition, like in the 2-2 draw at Sporting in the first leg of the round of 16 last week. Arsenal will be favored to advance going into the return match at Emirates Stadium. Sporting has already played in north London this season — a 1-1 draw with Tottenham in the Champions League. Manchester United is in good shape to progress, leading Real Betis 4-1 from the first leg, while Sevilla — a six-time competition winner — protects a 2-0 lead at Fenerbahce. Italian teams Juventus and Roma hold leads, too, against Freiburg (1-0) and Real Sociedad (2-0), respectively.
Lazio is in danger of elimination after losing its first-leg game against Dutch club AZ Alkmaar 2-1 in the round of 16. The second leg is in the Netherlands as Lazio attempts to keep alive its hopes of a first European trophy since 1999, ahead of a game in Serie A against local rival Roma on Sunday. West Ham has what should be a comfortable 2-0 lead over AEK Larnaca of Cyprus ahead of the second leg in London. Villarreal is level at 1-1 with Belgian team Anderlecht after the first leg, while Fiorentina has a 1-0 advantage over Sivasspor ahead of their second leg in Turkey and Nice leads Sheriff Tiraspol of Moldova 1-0.
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The Associated Press