UEFA: Four nations enjoy majority success; Europa League Review
The Round of 32 stage has been completed in the UEFA Europa League and there was no shortage of action as well. It was an especially good time for clubs from Russia, Portugal, the Netherlands and Great Britain whose teams make up 75% of the remaining sixteen teams. Stoppage Time – International Football Blog reviews the Round of 32 and details the draw for the next round.
This week’s action began on Tuesday where CSKA Moscow, the 2005 UEFA Cup winners, got Russian clubs off to a great start by progressing with thanks to a late Sergei Ignashivech goal helping his team to a 2-1 aggregate win over Greek side PAOK Thessaloniki. Fellow compatriots Spartak Moscow and Zenit Saint Petersburg also progressed, getting the better of Swiss opposition with 4-3 aggregate wins over FC Basel and Young Boys Berne respectively. Only Rubin Kazan failed to make it a 100% success rate for the Motherland having failed in their quest to overturn a 2-0 first leg deficit at the hands of Dutch champions FC Twente Enschede who ultimately came through 4-2 on aggregate.
Wednesday night saw FC Porto, 2003 UEFA Cup winners, claim their place in the last sixteen on away goals following an entertaining match against two-time UEFA Cup winners Sevilla FC. The Spanish side won 1-0 on the night but had lost the first leg at home 2-1 thus allowing FC Porto to go through. Benfica and Sporting Braga made it a great round for the Portuguese having overcome the respective challenges of German side VfB Stuttgart (4-1) and Polish champions Lech Poznan (2-1).
Only Sporting Lisbon failed to make it a perfect night for Portugal as they went out on away goals to Scottish champions Glasgow Rangers thanks to a stoppage time Maurice Edu strike giving the Gers a 2-2 draw (3-3 aggregate). This proved the highlight for the British clubs with Rangers also joined in the next round by Liverpool FC, who just survived a tough tie against Sparta Prague thanks to a late Dirk Kuijt winner, and Manchester City who did the damage early against Greek side Aris Thessaloniki, Edin Dzeko bagging a brace in a 3-0 win.
Dutch clubs also fared well with PSV Eindhoven and Ajax Amsterdam, who have two UEFA Cup victories between them, joining FC Twente in the Round of 16 having seen off Lille OSC (5-3) and RSC Anderlecht (5-0) respectively. Amongst the rest of the competitors Italian side SSC Napoli went out of the competition losing 2-1 to sole Spanish representatives Villarreal CF. Bayer 04 Leverkusen maintained a German presence in the tournament by easily brushing aside the challenge of Ukrainians Metalist Kharkiv (6-0). It was better for Kharkiv’s Ukrainian rivals Dynamo Kyiv who had the result of the round when hammering Besiktas with an 8-1 scoreline whilst Paris Saint Germain were fortunate to go through with an away goals win over Belarussian champions BATE Borisov.
ROUND OF 16 DRAW
Benfica v Paris Saint Germain
Dynamo Kyiv v Manchester City
FC Twente v Zenit Saint Petersburg
CSKA Moscow v FC Porto
PSV Eindhoven v Glasgow Rangers
Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Villarreal CF
Ajax Amsterdam v Spartak Moscow
Sporting Braga v Liverpool FC
All ties to be played on March 10-17