Manchester misery as United, City crash
Manchester United and Manchester City crashed out of the Europa League on Thursday, as the English Premier League was muscled into the shadows by Spain, who boast three teams in the quarterfinals.sports Updated: Mar 16, 2012 07:57 IST
Manchester United and Manchester City crashed out of the Europa League on Thursday, as the English Premier League was muscled into the shadows by Spain, who boast three teams in the quarterfinals.
United were beaten 2-1 by Athletic Bilbao, the Spanish side reaching their first European quarterfinal for 35 years after a 5-3 aggregate victory.
City, meanwhile, battled back from 2-0 down on the night and 3-0 in arrears on aggregate to Sporting Lisbon to win their last 16 second-leg match 3-2, but the Portuguese side went through on the away goals rule.
United and City's double blow left Chelsea, who reached the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday, as England's only remaining representative in Europe this season.
Sir Alex Ferguson's United, 3-2 down from the first leg at Old Trafford, fell to a stunning volley from Fernando Llorente and a second-half strike by Oscar de Marcos in Bilbao.
United replied with a fine goal from Wayne Rooney in the 80th minute, but the visitors could not find the two goals they needed to take the game to extra time.
"We can't complain," said Ferguson. "In the first half we let in a very soft goal, which was the last thing we wanted. I can't believe we lost a goal like that.
"There are lessons to learn in every match. It's disappointment, more than anything, that we didn't play our best in the Champions League and now we're out of the Europa League."
Bilbao, currently seventh in La Liga, will learn their quarter-final opponents in Friday's draw in Nyon.
"It was a wonderful match," said Spanish international Llorente.
"The team played a memorable game. I don't know if it's my greatest moment with the club. But it's the first time that we've gone past the last 16 in the Europa League, and that's incredible."
At Eastlands, City came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 on the night, with the last-16 tie ending 3-3 on aggregate, but went out on away goals.
City had lost the first leg 1-0 in Portugal and Sporting went 2-0 ahead on the night with Matias Fernandez and Ricky van Wolfswinkel both on target before the interval.
Roberto Mancini's side roared back in the second half as Sergio Aguero (2) and Mario Balotelli, from the penalty spot, gave hope of completing a dramatic recovery.
But they were unable to find another goal as Sporting held on.
Valencia joined Bilbao in the quarter-finals after a 1-1 stalemate with PSV Eindhoven gave them a 5-3 aggregate win.
The Spaniards, the 2004 champions, took a 4-2 first leg lead to PSV and increased their advantage when Adil Rami, who was later red-carded, gave them a 47th-minute lead.
Ola Toivonen grabbed a 64th-minute consolation for PSV.
Dutch league leaders AZ Alkmaar lost 2-1 in Italy to Udinese but progressed 3-2 on aggregate despite having defender Nick Viergever sent off in the first minute.
Antonio Di Natale scored from the penalty spot and added a second on 15 minutes as Udinese pulled level on aggregate.
But a wonderful left-foot shot from Erik Falkenburg on the half-hour mark put Alkmaar back in control.
German side Hanover trounced 10-man Standard Liege 4-0 for a 6-2 aggregate win and a place in the last eight of a European tournament for the first time.
Atletico Madrid, the 2010 winners, became the third Spanish side into Friday's quarter-final draw when a 3-0 win at Besiktas gave them a 6-1 aggregate success.
Schalke saw off Steve McClaren's FC Twente 4-1 for a 4-2 aggregate win, with Dutch striher Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scoring a hat-trick
Unheralded Ukrainian side Metalist Kharkiv saw off Olympiakos on the away goals rule, with substitute Marko Devic scoring the crucial goal four minutes from time after his team had trailed 2-0 on aggregate.