Europa League round-up: AC Milan in control but AS Roma left with work to do

AC Milan have one foot in the next round of the Europa League after thrashing Rennes, but AS Roma could only earn a 1-1 draw against Feyenoord and face a nervy second leg.

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It was a mixed night in the first leg of the Europa League knockout round playoffs for Serie A‘s representatives, with AC Milan cruising to victory but AS Roma being held to a draw.

Milan were comprehensive 3-0 winners over Ligue 1 club Rennes at the Stadio San Siro, with Stefano Pioli‘s side having a foot in the next round of the competition.

However, in the earlier kick-off Roma had to salvage a 1-1 draw against Feyenoord in Rotterdam, with the Dutch club frustrated not to have secured the win.

AC Milan midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek celebrates after scoring (@ACMilan)

AC Milan make light work of Rennes

Milan dropped into the Europa League after coming third in their Champions League group before Christmas, but despite this had to be wary of a Rennes side that have been in strong form in France.

With continental competition providing the only realistic chance of silverware this season following elimination from the Coppa Italia and a significant gap in the Serie A title race, coach Pioli took no chances with his team selection and it paid off handsomely.

A brace from midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek was followed up by a Rafael Leao effort in the second half to give the Rossoneri what they will expect to be an unassailable advantage going into the return fixture.

AS Roma forward Paulo Dybala carries the ball in the Europa League (@OfficialASRoma)

AS Roma face tough Feyenoord task

Over in the Netherlands, Feyenoord and Roma renewed acquaintances after the Giallorossi won a tense encounter in the Europa League quarter-final last season, less than a year after pipping the Eredivisie club to the inaugural Europa Conference League title.

Roma were on the back foot for much of the first half and despite going closest when a vicious Leandro Paredes strike from range was tipped onto the crossbar, found themselves behind as Igor Paixao netted on the stroke of half time.

However, the Lupi fought back after the break and levelled through a deft Romelu Lukaku header to take a draw back to Rome for the second leg. It almost ended in disaster for Roma though, with heavy Feyenoord pressure late on seeing them squander a host of chances and rattle the frame of the goal deep into stoppage time.

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