(Reuters) – Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur built hefty leads with emphatic away wins in their Europa League last 32 first-leg matches but AC Milan were held to a 2-2 draw at Red Star Belgrade as the competition resumed on Thursday.
On night of high-scoring matches, United crushed Real Sociedad 4-0 in a game played in Turin because of COVID-19 restrictions between the UK and Spain with Bruno Fernandes scoring a brace for his side.
Tottenham won 4-1 away against Austrian side Wolfsberg in the Puskas Arena in Budapest while Swiss side Young Boys, Scotland’s Rangers and Olympiakos all hit four.
Arsenal drew 1-1 in the “away” leg of their tie against Benfica, although the match was played in Rome.
Fernandes has become the heartbeat of Manchester United and the Portuguese midfielder opened the scoring after 27 minutes with his 20th goal of the season.
He curled in his second after 57 minutes before Marcus Rashford and Daniel James completed the rout.
“We deserved to win but maybe not by four goals. On a night like this when we find spaces we can be a dangerous team,” United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said.
Tottenham’s domestic form has been woeful but they claimed a first away win in the knockout phase of the Europa League since 2008 to put one foot in the last 16.
Gareth Bale set up Son Heung-min before scoring a classy second as he marked a rare start with a strong display before being substituted midway through the second half.
Lucas Moura made it 3-0 with a solo effort but Wolfsberg improved after the break and Michael Liendl pulled a goal back from the penalty spot. Tottenham substitute Carlos Vinicius touched home his side’s late fourth.
“I think we have one foot in the next round. I liked the performance in the first half,” Spurs manager Jose Mourinho said.