Manchester clubs suffer shock losses in first leg
Premier League title chasers Manchester City and Manchester United slumped to Europa League last 16 first-leg defeats on Thursday as Spain celebrated three wins out of three.sports Updated: Mar 10, 2012 02:20 IST
Premier League title chasers Manchester City and Manchester United slumped to Europa League last 16 first-leg defeats on Thursday as Spain celebrated three wins out of three.
United were stunned 3-2 by Athletic Bilbao at Old Trafford, while City suffered a 1-0 defeat by Sporting Lisbon in Portugal.
Sir Alex Ferguson's United took a 22nd-minute lead through Wayne Rooney but Bilbao roared back with goals from Fernando Llorente, Oscar de Marcos and Iker Muniain. Rooney reduced the damage ahead of next week's second leg with an injury-time penalty to keep alive United's hopes of making the quarter-finals. "We were well beaten. Bilbao were the better side," admitted Ferguson.
"Our defence wasn't very good tonight and we were on the back foot because of it. But we can win the second leg next week because we showed that we can create chances against them." The loss extended United's home record in Europe this season to one win in five matches. City had crushed Portuguese league leaders Porto 6-1 on aggregate in the previous round, but Sporting proved a far more formidable obstacle at Lisbon's Jose Alvalade Stadium. Brazilian centre-back Xandao claimed the game's only goal with a clever back-heel in the 51st minute to give Ricardo Sa Pinto's side a narrow advantage ahead of the second leg at the City of Manchester Stadium next week.
Victory extended Sporting's unbeaten European home record to 10 games, while City coach Roberto Mancini was left to rue an injury to captain Vincent Kompany that forced the Belgian centre-back to leave the fray early in the game.