Lacazette double helps Arsenal beat Valencia 3-1

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Arsenal's Alexandre Lacazette (L) heads the second goal during the UEFA Europa League semifinal first leg soccer match between Arsenal and Valencia at The Emirates Stadium in London, Britain on May 2, 2019. Arsenal won 3-1. (Xinhua/Matthew Impey)

Arsenal defeated Valencia on Thursday after allowing the opening goal and will take a 3-1 lead into the second leg in Europa League semifinal.

Valencia took the lead through Mouctar Diakhaby. For the "Gunners", French striker Alexandre Lacazette scored twice to cap an impressive individual performance and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang finished a 90th-minute goal at Emirates Stadium.

Another English team, Chelsea, shook hand with Eintracht Frankfurt to see a 1-1 draw. Pedro Rodriguez scored the meaningful away goal to extend the blues' record unbeaten run in the competition to 16 games.

Back to the field of Premier League, neither Arsenal nor Chelsea secures a berth in top four, which earns automatic qualification for next season's Champions League. However, the final victory in Europa League also guarantees that reward, which explains why both teams have taken the competition seriously and played hard.

Few days ago, it had been disappointing to English football fans, for their clubs Tottenham and Liverpool lost the first legs in Champions League semifinals against Ajax and Barcelona respectively. In contrast, Arsenal and Chelsea offer hopes to walk abreast into the Europa League final.

The final will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan on May 29. 

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