Thursday, 3 March 2016

English Trio Seal Europa Extension

In a busy fortnight for action both domestic and European, the Europa League second legs took place on Thursday night with the three English sides all with work to to do to seal a place in the next stage.

The action began on Wednesday night as Sporting Braga hosted FC Sion with the visitors looking to overturn a 2-1 deficit from the first leg. The Swiss side levelled the tie at 2-2 with the opening goal from Gekas on 16 minutes before being pegged back on the night by a 27th minute penalty from Josué who put Braga 3-2 ahead overall. Gekas struck his second just two minutes later to put Sion 2-1 up and levelled on aggregate but the crucial strike came on 48 minutes as Stojiljovic levelled the game at 2-2 but in doing so sealed a 4-2 aggregate victory for the Portuguese side.

Lokomotiv Moscow hosted Fenerbache in the first of the remaining ties on Thursday night with the visitors taking a 2-0 lead to the Russians after the first leg. Lokomotiv cut the gap on aggregate with a an opening goal on 46 minutes through Samedov but were unable to level overall across the half. The Turks confirmed their spot in the next stage on 83 minutes as Topal made it 1-1 on the night while sealing a 3-1 win on aggregate.

Athletic Bilbao played hosts to Olympique Marseille who looked to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first leg. The visitors' pursuit to draw level in the tie came just before half-time as they opened the scoring on the night on 40 minutes through Batshuayi to level overall. However, they were denied the chance for extra time as the hosts levelled on the night with nine minutes left courtesy of an effort from Zulonga whose strike sealed a 2-1 aggregate success.

Bayer Leverkusen hosted Sporting Lisbon hoping to build on a 1-0 advantage from the first leg and they doubled the aggregate lead inside the first half an hour through Bellarabi before Eduardo levelled on the night and cut the overall score to 2-1. Bellarabi made it 2-1 on the night and 3-1 overall with his second strike on 65 minutes before Calhanoglu completed a 3-1 success and 4-1 aggregate rout in the 87th minute.

Schalke 04 hosted Shakthar Donetsk with both sides going into the second leg level after a goalless first leg. The Ukrainians opened the scoring on the night in the 26th minute through Bonfim before Ferreyra doubled the lead just after the hour mark. The winners of the tie and the spot in the next round were confirmed on 77 minutes as Kovalenko made it 3-0.

Krasnodar had a 1-0 deficit from the first leg to overturn as they hosted Sparta Prague and the Czechs took until six minutes after half-time to add to their aggregate lead as Marecek opened the scoring on the night.  Frydek doubled the advantage on the night before the hosts suffered two blows in as many minutes with the 68th minute dismissal of KaporĂ© followed by a third goal for Sparta from Fatai who in making it 3-0 completed a 4-0 rout on aggregate.

Lazio hosted Galatasaray with the sides level at 1-1 after a tight first leg and the tightness between the sides continued in a goalless first half in the second leg. The deadlock was broke on 59 minutes as the hosts took the lead through Parolo before rapid second from Gomes made it 2-0 on the night and 3-1 overall. The visitors pulled one back instantly via Oztekin but the tie was sealed on 72 minutes as Klose completed a 3-1 win and 4-1 success on aggregate.

Liverpool hosted FC Augsburg having drawn the first leg 0-0 in Germany and they made a stunning start to the second leg at Anfield as James Milner opened the scoring inside five minutes with a well taken penalty. The Germans battled to try and level the score and the tie itself but to no avail as the Reds held on to claim a narrow 1-0 aggregate success.

Rapid Vienna hosted Valencia with a huge task on the hands as they looked to overturn a 4-0 deficit from the first leg. They kept out the Catalans in the first half but were unable to reduced the aggregate deficit. Valencia extended their lead in the tie with a double either side of the hour mark from Rodrigo and Feghouli to make it 8-0 on aggregate. The Austrians were finished off by two further goals on 72 and 88 minutes as Piatti and Nunes Vezo completed a 4-0 rout on the night and a stunning 10-0 win on aggregate.

Basel hosted St Etienne hoping to overturn a 3-2 deficit from the first leg in France and got off to a good start with an opener from Zuffi inside 15 minutes to level the tie at 3-3.The Swiss side remained ahead on the night long into the second half and their chance of forcing extra time was boosted by the dismissal of Eysseric on 82 minutes before losing Embolo to a sending off within two minutes. Sall levelled on the night and put the visitors all but into the next stage in the 89th minute but their joy was soured by Zuffi's second in added time to seal a 2-1 win and 4-4 aggregate score with them winning on away goals.

FC Porto hosted Borussia Dortmund looking to overturn a 2-0 deficit from the first leg in Germany and in a tight game second leg, just one goal proved to be enough to settle the tie. An own goal on 23 minutes from Porto 'keeper Iker Casillas sealed a 1-0 win for Dortmund and 3-0 success on aggregate.

Manchester United hosted FC Midtjlland hoping to overturn a 2-1 deficit from the first leg while the Danes had their eyes on a famous double over the Red Devils. The visitors opened the scoring on 27 minutes as Sisto struck to open up a 3-1 lead overall but an own goal from Bodurov made it 3-2 overall on 32 minutes. A rapid double from United debutant Marcus Rashford on 63 and 75 minutes put the hosts 3-1 up on the night and 4-3 ahead on aggregate. Ander Herrera looked to have sealed the tie with an 87th minute penalty before two further blow for the Danes saw Romer dismissed ahead of a strike from Memphis Depay who confirmed a 5-1 win and 6-3 aggregate success.

Molde FK had the tough task of overturning a 3-0 first leg defeat against defending champions Sevilla. The hosts struck an opening goal in the 43rd minute through Helstad to cut the aggregate gap to 3-1 which was how the score remained until the end. They had secured a 1-0 win on the night lost 3-1 on aggregate as Sevilla moved a step further to defending their title.

Napoli hosted Villarreal looking to overturn a narrow 1-0 deficit from the first leg and they made a good start by levelling the tie with an opening goal inside 17 minutes through Marek Hamsik. Pina levelled on the night for the visitors on 59 minutes with his effort enough to wrap up a 2-1 aggregate success.

Olympiakos had a narrow 1-0 deficit to overturn as they hosted Anderlecht and they took just 29 minutes of the second leg to draw level in the tie with the opening goal seeing Fortounis convert from the penalty spot. The sides remained level at 1-1 on aggregate until the end of the 90 minutes forcing extra time and the Belgians secured a double success as Acheampong scored in the 103rd and 111th minutes to complete a 2-1 win and 3-1 aggregate victory.

The final game of the round saw Tottenham Hotspur host Fiorentina with Spurs looking to build on a 1-1 draw from the first leg. They started the game well with Ryan Mason giving them an aggregate  lead on 25 minutes before Erik Lamela made it 2-0 on the night and 3-1 overall in the 63rd minute. Fiorentina were out of the tie as a contest with nine minutes remaining as Rodriguez scored an own goal to seal a 3-0 win for the hosts and complete a trio of successes for the English sides with a 4-1 aggregate success.