Teenage forward Emile Smith-Rowe scored his first senior goal as Arsenal made the most of its longest-ever trip for a European game by winning 3-0 at Qarabag in the Europa League on Thursday.
Elsewhere, substitute Patrick Cutrone netted twice in nine minutes to lift seven-time European champion AC Milan to a 3-1 comeback win at home to Olympiakos.
Like Arsenal and Milan, last year’s semifinalist Salzburg, Bayer Leverkusen, Zurich, Sporting and Dinamo Zagreb also made it two victories from two group games.
Arsenal’s Armenia forward Henrikh Mkhitaryan was one of three players who didn’t make the 4,000-kilometer (2,486-mile) trip to the Azerbaijan capital of Baku.
Azerbaijan and Armenia are in a territorial dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Mkhitaryan also skipped a trip to Azerbaijan three years ago when he was playing for Borussia Dortmund, with the German club citing security concerns.
Arsenal manager Unai Emery said Mkhitaryan “cannot travel here.” It’s not clear what will happen if the team reaches the final in Baku.
Here’s a look at Thursday’s games:
ARSENAL A-TEAM RESTED
Emery followed the example of predecessor Arsene Wenger by resting nine front-line players.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who netted twice in the opening 4-2 victory over Vorskla, didn’t travel to Baku due to illness, while Aaron Ramsey stayed at home for family reasons.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos scored the first goal after four minutes when Nacho Monreal headed the ball on from a corner. The 18-year-old Smith Rowe and Matteo Guendouzi then struck in the second half.
Sporting rallied to win 2-1 at Ukraine’s Vorskla to join Arsenal atop Group E with six points.
MILAN FIGHTS BACK
Boosted by a 4-1 victory at Sassuolo in Serie A on Sunday and with forward Gonzalo Higuain returning from injury, AC Milan looked strong in the opening stages against Olympiakos and had an offside goal disallowed early on.
Miguel Angel Guerrero gave the visitors the lead against the run of play in the 14th minute with a deflected header.
Milan then wasted some chances before Ricardo Rodriguez crossed for Cutrone to head the equalizer with 20 minutes to go. Higuain’s low shot put the Italian club 2-1 up and Cutrone tapped in his second goal from close range in the 79th.
Milan leads Group F with six points, two ahead of Real Betis, which scored three goals in the second half to ease past Luxembourg newcomer Dudelange 3-0.
Bayer Leverkusen came from a goal down to defeat AEK Larnaca 4-2 and is tied atop Group A on six points with Zurich, which edged Ludogorets 1-0.
In Group B, Salzburg came from a goal down against Celtic to win 3-1 and lead on six points. The Scottish champion is tied in second on three with Leipzig, which won 3-1 at Rosenborg.
Dinamo Zagreb upset host Anderlecht 2-0 to dominate Group D with six points.
Rennes had to travel even further than Arsenal, 5,000 kilometers (3,107 miles), to Kazakhstan’s Astana and suffered a 2-0 defeat in Group K.
Source: The Associated Press