Three La Liga sides secured their place in the last sixteen of the UEFA Europa League but Real Betis were eliminated on Thursday night.
Valencia welcomed Celtic to the Mestalla with a two goal lead from the first leg in Glasgow but they were outplayed for the majority of the first half by the Scottish Champions.
Despite their control of the match, Celtic didn’t create too many clear cut chances before Jonny Hayes sliced a half volley wide at the back post on 36 minutes.
The game turned just a minute later however, when Jeremy Toljan was sent off. Already on a yellow card for pulling back Toni Lato, Toljan got caught the wrong side of Goncalo Guedes and fouled the winger before receiving his marching orders.
Los Che began to show some attacking intent after this and had two great chances to score, but were denied on both occasions by Scott Bain.
A Dani Parejo volley deflected off Ryan Christie, wrongfooting Bain, but the former Dundee and Hibs keeper managed to tip the ball over the bar, with Santi Mina then also denied by the keeper.
In the second half, Mina saw his shot cleared off the line by Jozo Simunovic before Daniel Wass was also denied by Bain.
Just past the hour mark though, Celtic had a golden opportunity to take the lead. Christie’s free-kick was inch perfect for Kristoffer Ajer but the defender managed to head high and wide.
That miss came back to haunt the visitors eight minutes later when Valencia took the lead.
Parejo’s cross to the back post was headed across goal by Wass to substitute Kevin Gameiro who knocked the ball into the net with his knee.
Bain was at it once more in stoppage time when he kept out a close range header from Kang-In Lee but despite his best efforts, he couldn’t stop the Spaniards from progressing to the next round.
Villarreal struck late to edge past ten man Sporting Club on a nervy night at the Estadio de la Ceramica.
In what was a quiet first half, Gerard Moreno was denied by the Lisbon club’s keeper and Ramiro Funes Mori headed over from a corner with the hosts looking more likely to score.
Despite this however, Sporting took the lead in stoppage time when Funes Mori’s touch was heavy, allowing Bruno Fernandes to race through on goal and slot into the corner of the net.
That scoreline would have taken the game to extra time but Villarreal were given a huge boost at the start of the second period with the visitors reduced to ten men.
Jefferson was sent off after his second booking, following a coming together with Miguel Llambrich in which he was adjudged to have stamped on the defender, although it did look harsh.
Funes Mori headed wide from a corner with Alfonso Pedraza then firing a shot into the side netting as the Yellow Submarine looked to prevent extra time and with ten minutes to go, they were rewarded.
Santi Cazorla found Karl Toko Ekambi on the left and his cutback was fired home by Pablo Fornals.
They could and arguably should have added another goal or two with Gerard Moreno setting up both Vicente Iborra and Ekambi, but neither could find the net.
Deep into stoppage time, Sporting really should have got the decisive goal but Bas Dost couldn’t force the ball home and Villarreal held on.
Despite the positivity on the East coast of Spain, there was sorrow in Andalucia as Real Betis went down to Ligue 1 side Rennes.
A late equaliser in last week’s first leg had given Betis the advantage going into the home game but that disappeared midway through the first half when Rennes went in front.
Ismaila Sarr’s cross looped over Joel Robles but wide of the post from a corner and from the delivery, Ramy Bensebaini bulleted a header into the net.
Jesé Rodriguez was denied an equaliser by a good save and soon after, Rennes made it two. Sarr was again involved with his shot across goal turned in by Adrien Hunou.
Betis did get a goal back before half time however, when Sergio Canales squared the ball to Giovani Lo Celso to roll home.
It should have been 2-2 at half time, with Jesé again having a chance, but he couldn’t keep his shot down.
In the second half, Loren Moron and Jesé were both kept out by Tomas Koubek before Robles stopped Hatem Ben Arfa from wrapping up the tie at the other end.
Los Verdiblancos continued to press for a goal to send them through but deep into stoppage time they were caught on the break and M’Baye Niang fired the ball into the corner to send Rennes through.
Sevilla also made it through, beating Lazio 2-0 at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on Wednesday.
Goals from Wissam Ben Yedder and Pablo Sarabia completed a 3-0 aggregate victory to send Pablo Machin’s men into Friday’s last-16 draw.
Sevilla 2-0 Lazio (Agg 3-0)
Real Betis 1-3 Rennes (Agg 4-6)
Valencia 1-0 Celtic (Agg 3-0)
Villarreal 1-1 Sporting Club (Agg 2-1)