The first of the two big European finals of
the 2020-21 season will be held on Wednesday, with Manchester United taking on Villarreal in the showiece Europa League encounter at the Stadoin Energon in the Polish city
of Gdansk. And while Europe’s second-tier competition is no match for the stature
and appeal of the Champions League, it more than makes up it with drama and electric

From Manchester United’s drubbing of Roma
to Dinamo Zagreb’s incredible comeback against Tottenham Hotspur, the Europa
League has served up some memorable encounters this season. In no particular
order, here’s our pick for the top five best matches of the season:

1. Manchester United 6-2 Roma

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Roma held a 2-1 lead going into the half-time interval in their semi-final first-leg against Manchester United at Old Trafford, with goals from Lorenzo Pellegrini and Edin Dzeko cancelling out Bruno Fernandes’ early opener. However, the hosts came out all guns blazing in the second half, scoring five goals in a five-star display to blow the Romans out of the tie.

2. Dinamo Zagreb 3-0 Tottenham Hotspur

“It’s a disgrace,” Tottenham captain Hugo Lloris
said as he blasted his side for blowing a two-goal lead from the first leg of their
round of 16 tie to see their European campaign come to a crashing end. Mislav
Orisic’s sensational second half-hattrick inspired a rousing comeback for the Croatian
side, which came after a Harry Kane brace made Spurs the favourites to reach
the quarter finals.  

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3. Arsenal 3-2 Benfica

After a 1-1 draw in Lisbon, Benfica scored
twice to turn an early deficit into a lead in the first half of their round of
32 second leg encounter against Arsenal. However, Kieran Tierney drew the hosts
level on the night before Pierre Emerick Aubameyang scored his second and the matchwinner
to avoid embarrassment for the Gunners.

4. Leicester City 0-2 Slavia Praha

Slavia manager Jindřich Trpišovský compared
this win to Leicester’s own fairy tale title win 2016, calling their
qualification for the last 16 a “sporting miracle”. After a goalless first leg
in Prague, second half goals from Lucas Provod and Abdallah Sima at the King
Power Stadium saw the Czechs through to the round of 16. Slavia would
eventually reach the quarter finals, where they were beaten by Arsenal.  

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5. Villarreal 5-3 Sivasspor

The opening night served two eight-goal
thrillers, with Turkish side Sivasspor coming back from a 3-1 deficit to
equalise just past the hour-mark in their Group I encounter against Villarreal. However,
Paco Alcacer scored two quick-fire goals to clinch the points for Unai Emery’s