first_imgChelsea set a Europa League record of 16 successive matches unbeaten on Thursday with 1-1 semi-final first leg draw at Eintracht Frankfurt thanks to a Pedro equaliser on the stroke of half time.Serbian Luka Jovic had put the hosts ahead after 23 minutes.The draw meant Chelsea, Europa League winners in 2013, surpassed Atletico Madrid’s 2011-12 unbeaten run.They took time to find their stride, however, with Jovic stooping to head past the outstretched Kepa Arrizabalaga off a cross from compatriot Filip Kostic with a goal that raised the decibels in a stadium famed for its atmosphere.Jovic, firmly on the radar of top clubs across Europe, has now scored nine goals in the competition and 26 in all this season.Kostic’s driven crossKolasinac’s clip to the back postDa Costa’s delicious invitationWhich delivery was your favourite? #Possibilities#UEL @FedExEurope Europa League (@EuropaLeague) May 2, 2019Frankfurt failed to press home their advantage, however, running out of energy in a second half dominated by the visitors with Jorginho dictating play.Ruben Loftus-Cheek led the fightback, blasting just wide in the 42nd minute and then nimbly beating defenders before feeding the ball through to Spanish winger Pedro who hammered in a low left-foot shot.Chelsea were far livelier after the break, with the hosts having another close escape when David Luiz rattled the crossbar from a dipping free kick.Frankfurt captain David Abraham headed over the bar while unmarked with six minutes remaining after an optimistic appeal for a penalty came to nothing.advertisement”At 1-0 down we were a bit in trouble,” Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta said.”I think the last 15 minutes of the first half we dominated with great chances. We scored the goal before halftime and in the second half I think we had more chances than them.”Both sides are fourth in their domestic leagues, with the Europa League offering an alternative route to next season’s Champions League.The second leg is at Stamford Bridge next Thursday, when the positions in the Premier League will also come into clearer focus before the final weekend.ARSENAL BEAT VALENCIAAubameyang + Lacazette = #UEL Europa League (@EuropaLeague) May 2, 2019Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struck a vital late goal to seal a 3-1 win over Valencia on Thursday and give his side breathing space for the second leg of their Europa League semi-final in Spain next week.Alexandre Lacazette scored twice in the first half after Mouctar Diakhaby had stunned the Emirates crowd with an early header to give Valencia the lead.Alexandre Lacazette #UEL Europa League (@EuropaLeague) May 2, 2019The tie was still balanced on a knife edge, however, before Gabon striker Aubameyang’s 90th-minute volley put his side in control ahead of the second leg in Valencia’s Mestalla.Unai Emery’s team will need to show more steel than they have done away from home for much of the season, though, if they are to reach the final in Baku and a possible meeting with London rivals Chelsea.Arsenal, Europa League semi-finalists last year, had lost three consecutive Premier League games to drop to fifth place in the table with two games left undermining their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League via a top-four finish.But Emery has a special relationship with the Europa League having won it three times in a row with Sevilla and delivering the trophy to Arsenal for the first time now looks their most likely route back into the elite tournament.last_img