Eight teams made it through to the last eight of the UEFA Europa League on the evening of Thursday 15th March 2012, as teams played their Round of 16 second leg fixtures.
A night of high drama was anticipated, and lived up to expectations, as there were some giant exits; some good turnarounds; and some high scoring wins across Europe.
Athletic 2-1 Manchester United (Agg 5-3)
Athletic Bilbao knocked out Premier League giants, Manchester United, by following up their Old Trafford victory with an impressive 2-1 home win. A phenomenally well taken Fernando Llorente volley set Athletic on their way on 23 minutes. In the second half, Oscar De Marcos added a second, killer, blow, on 65 minutes.
While Wayne Rooney was able to add a brilliant curling long range strike on 80 minutes, it was to prove scant consolation for a lacklustre United side, who deserved to go out over both legs.
Manchester City 3-2 Sporting (Agg 3-3 Sporting progress on Away Goals)
United’s across town rivals looked like going out without much of a fight in their home fixture with Sporting. After 40 minutes, City were down 2-0 on the night, and 3-0 on aggregate. However, a second half comeback, inspired by a Sergio Aguero brace – and the same player winning a penalty which Mario Balotelli struck home – left home fans hopeful with ten minutes to play. City, locked at 3-3, were unable to find the additional goal to see them through, however, and Sporting scraped through by the Away Goals rule following a pulsating encounter.
Olympiacos 1-2 Metalist (Agg 2-2 Metalist progess on Away Goals)
Olympiacos also fell out thanks to the away goals rule after Metalist Kharkiv managed to turn around a 1-0 home defeat with a 2-1 away victory.
Olympiacos must have thought they had done enough when Iván Marcano scored after 15 minutes, and even more so when the score remained 2-0 on aggregate up until the 81st minute, despite Metalist hitting a post, and having a penalty saved. But visiting defender Cristian Villagra struck with nine minutes remaining to put the pressure on the Greek side, before, just five minutes later, substitute Marko Dević grabbed the winner – a second away goal which would prove vital, and put the Ukrainian side into the Quarter Final hat, following as close a 180 minute match as you could hope for.
Full results from the Round of 16 are detailed below.
UEFA Europa Leage 2011/12 Round of 16 Second Leg Results – Thursday 15th March 2012
- Hannover 4-0 Standard Liège (Agg 6-2)
- PSV 1-1 Valencia (Agg 3-5)
- Udinese 2-1 AZ (Agg 2-3)
- Athletic 2-1 Manchester United (Agg 5-3)
- Manchester City 3-2 Sporting (Agg 3-3 Sporting progress on Away Goals)
- Schalke 4-1 Twente (Agg 4-2)
- Olympiacos 1-2 Metalist (Agg 2-2 Metalist progess on Away Goals)
- Beşiktaş 0-3 Atlético (Agg 1-6)