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Napoli knocked out of Europa League by Granada as Ajax battle through

(Image credit: Alessandro Garofalo)

Napoli crashed of the Europa League after failing to overcome a two-goal first-leg deficit against Granada.

Piotr Zielinski found the back of the net after just three minutes to provide the hosts with the perfect start at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

But Angel Montoro restored surprise package Granada’s two-goal advantage midway through the opening half of Thursday’s second leg.

Granada’s Angel Montoro celebrates after scoring in Thursday's second leg

Angel Montoro celebrates after scoring in the second leg (Alessandro Garofalo/AP)

Fabian Ruiz put Napoli back in front on the evening shortly before the hour mark, but the LaLiga side held their nerve to take a 3-2 aggregate win and progress to the last 16.

Dutch giants Ajax booked their spot in the next stage following a 2-1 victory against Lille.

Ajax triumphed by the same score in last week’s opening rubber and Davy Klaassen’s goal after 15 minutes provided Lille with an uphill task.

Yusuf Yazici netted from the penalty spot after 75 minutes to draw the French side level on the evening, but David Neres scored in the final minutes as Ajax closed out the tie.

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Gerard Moreno’s brace saw Villarreal cruise to a 4-1 aggregate win over Red Bull Salzburg.

Mergim Berisha gave the Austrian visitors hope with his first-half strike to reduce the deficit to just one goal.

But Moreno scored five minutes from the interval before sealing the last-32 clash with a penalty in the closing stages.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a late winner as Arsenal edged out Benfica.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates after scoring the winning goal of the tie

Aubameyang celebrates after scoring the winning goal (Antonis Nikolopoulos/AP)

The Gunners were just three minutes away from crashing out on away goals – despite both legs being played at neutral venues – before Aubameyang’s header saw them seal a 4-3 aggregate win.

Nathan Patterson made amends for his Covid rule-breach as his first Rangers goal helped fire Steven Gerrard’s team into the last 16 with a 5-2 win over Royal Antwerp.

The Ibrox teenager found himself feeling the wrath of his manager after being caught at an illegal house party with four team-mates earlier this month.

But he repaired some of that damage as he slotted home just 16 seconds after climbing off the bench at half-time as Rangers progressed 9-5 on aggregate.

Elsewhere, Molde and Shakhtar Donetsk also moved into the next round with comfortable aggregate wins over Hoffenheim and Maccabi Tel-Aviv respectively.

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