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Europa League Soccer Review 2016

europa league soccer review 2016

The round of 16 games at the Europa League were concluded on Thursday and amidst a few surprises, eight deserving teams have made it to the quarter-finals to be contested in the coming month.

German giants, Bayer Leverkusen were up against Spanish outfit Villarreal at the BayArena, and with the Yellow Submarine 2-0 ahead from the first leg, they always held the advantage over their German rivals. The game ended in a scoreless draw, meaning Marcelino’s men made it to the last eight with a 2-0 aggregate win.

The biggest surprise of the round was Sparta Prague’s 3-0 defeat of Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico that ended Italian challenge in Europe this season. The first leg had ended in a 1-1 draw, giving Lazio a slight advantage for the second leg, but they were completely dismantled by the visiting side and succumbed to a 4-1 aggregate defeat.

In one of the closest encounters of the round, Valencia won 2-1 against Athletic Bilbao but went out of the competition on away goals rule. The Basques went into the game with a 1-0 win at home but were staring at the exit gates after going 2-0 down by the 37th minute. However, a late goal from Aduriz Zubeldia meant that Gary Neville’s men were ousted from the competition.

Manchester United were facing an uphill battle against Liverpool, having lost to their fierce rivals 2-0 at Anfield in the first leg. But they got a foot in when Anthony Martial converted a spot kick. However, an exquisite goal after an inspired run from Philippe Coutinho just before the break effectively put out the Red Devils. The game ended 1-1 on the night and 3-1 in favour of the Reds on aggregate.

Anderlecht were defeated 1-0 by Ukrainian giants Shakhtar Donetsk, which meant that they won the tie with a 4-1 aggregate result to move into the quarter-finals.

Sevilla have been unbeaten at home this season and at their fortress, the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, they hammered Swiss giants FC Basel 3-0 to book their place in the quarter-finals. The Sevillistas are the reigning Europa League champions and they will be eager to win the trophy for a third successive year. The first leg of their tie against Basel had ended in a scoreless draw, but Sevilla continued their impressive home record to continue their quest for another Europa League triumph.

Turkish giants Fenerbahce went into their clash against Sporting Braga with a 1-0 win from the first leg, but the Portuguese club hammered the visitors 4-1 to make their way to the last eight.

Borussia Dortmund had effectively sealed their place in the quarter-finals with a 3-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur at the Signal Iduna Park in the first leg and they completed the task with another 2-1 win at White Hart Lane to continue their quest to win the Europa League. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang grabbed a brace for the Germans, while South Korea international Son Heung-min scored the solitary goal for the Londoners.

Luka Alario
Luka Alario
Luka Alario, our sports writer, hails from Northern Italy. He's as passionate about Soccer as we are about football so he's a great addition to our sports team.