Two in, two out for La Liga sides – Europa League Round UpFebruary 22, 2018
Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao will fly the flag for Spain in the Europa League last 16 after progressing from their last 32 ties on Thursday evening but Villarreal and Real Sociedad crashed out, here’s the best of the action.
We start with Real Sociedad who travelled to Austria to face Salzburg with the tie finely poised at 2-2.
La Real started well and had a great chance to open the scoring inside ten minutes but the unmarked Mikel Oyarzabal somehow contrived to head off the crossbar from just ten yards out.
Munas Dabbur would make them pay soon after when he converted a cross from the right just yards from goal through the legs of Geronimo Rulli.
Sociedad however would make it 1-1 before half time thanks to a simply phenomenal header from Raul Navas. Sergio Canales swung in a corner from the right with Navas facing away from goal managing to redirect the ball towards goal flying past the goalkeeper into the top corner of the net.
The Basques continued to press for a second goal to see themselves through but the game unravelled in the space of just six minutes late on.
First, Navas picked up his second yellow card and was sent for an early bath with the referee awarding Salzburg a penalty just minutes later. It was a terrible decision with Hee Chan Hwang throwing himself to the ground when Rulli made a play for the ball under no contact from the keeper.
Valon Berisha stepped up to slot the ball beyond Rulli who picked up an injury in the process and had to be replaced by Tono.
Sociedad couldn’t grab a goal to force extra time and exit the tournament but with their heads held high.
Villarreal also fell at the last 32 hurdle, losing to a late goal against Lyon at the Estadio de la Ceramica.
Behind 3-1 from the first leg in France, The Yellow Submarine knew they had to score at least twice and they pressed forward well throughout the game but struggled to create clear cut chances.
Similar to La Real, a late red card killed off their hopes, Jaume the offender for the hosts.
After picking up a soft yellow card, the left back continued to remonstrate with the referee and was shown an immediate second yellow and subsequent red.
Nabil Fekir would race clear five minutes from time and square the ball for Bertrand Traore to walk the ball into the net and send the tournament’s final stadium hosts through.
Atletico Madrid however would make it through, 5-1 on aggregate after a 1-0 win over Copenhagen.
Los Colchoneros led 4-1 from the first leg and Diego Simeone made a few rotations to his starting line up ahead of Sunday’s trip to Sevilla.
Kevin Gameiro was one of those and it was the Frenchman who would score the only goal in the second leg at the Wanda Metropolitano with a thunderous attempt from 25 yards nestling in the corner of the net.
Athletic Bilbao made it two teams into the next round despite a 2-1 defeat at home to Spartak Moscow.
A fantastic first half showing last week saw Athletic lead 3-1 ahead of the San Mames clash but it was Spartak who would strike first in Bilbao, Luis Adriano heading home.
Enric Saborit showed great feet in the second half to clip the ball up for Xabier Etxeita whose excellently placed header levelled things up.
Lorenzo Melgarejo won the game for Spartak with a close range finish after rounding Iago Herrerin but Athletic will be in Friday’s draw.
Unfortunately, most of the news in Bilbao wasn’t about the football but instead focused on the death of a local policeman, who suffered a heart attack after clashes between Spartak Ultras and home fans and police officers. We will have more on this story at laliganews.co.uk
Athletic Bilbao 1-2 Spartak Moscow (Agg 4-3)
Atletico Madrid 1-0 Copenhagen (Agg 5-1)
Salzburg 2-1 Real Sociedad (Agg 4-3)
Villareal 0-1 Lyon (Agg 1-4)
The draw for the last 16 takes place on Friday and we will have live updates and all the reaction for you here at La Liga News UK.