PARIS, April 13, 2011 (AFP) – An Iberian stranglehold on the Europa League semi-finals is on the cards as three Portuguese and one Spanish side go into Thursday’s last eight second leg ties holding all the aces.
Only major upsets will deny FC Porto and Benfica their semi-final places after lopsided wins last week.
Porto, 2004 Champions League winners under Jose Mourinho, travel to Spartak Moscow on the back of a 5-1 trouncing of the Russians, with Colombian forward Falcao securing a hat-trick to take his Europea league haul to ten goals.
Benfica are similarly well placed after their 4-1 beating of PSV Eindhoven.
Villarreal too are almost home and dry after their 5-1 drubbing of FC Twente.
Only three times in UEFA club competition history have a side recovered a four-goal first-leg deficit to win a tie.
Thursday’s reamining second leg fixture sees Sporting Braga in the driving seat having gained an all important away goal in their first leg 1-1 draw at Dynamo Kiev.
The Europa League final is being held at Dublin’s newlook Lansdowne Road, and the only Irish player who could conceivably make it onto the pitch on May 18 is Spartak Moscow’s Aiden McGeady.
McGeady was shocked by his team’s demise at the Estadio do Dragao against Porto, the midfielder telling uefa.com: “We can try and reduce the deficit, but the way we played…it’s probably not going to happen.”
Porto are the last Portuguese side to claim Europe’s second club competition, lifting the 2003 UEFA Cup, Mourinho’s men beating Celtic in the final.
Like Spartak, PSV, winners of the UEFA Cup in 1978, appear to have left themselves too much to do against Benfica.
Eindhoven keeper Andreas Isaksson said: “We need to show we can play better than we did on Thursday, and put pressure on them.
“It’s not an easy position for the second leg, but we have a chance and we’re going to take it; we want to fight for it.”
Dynamo Kiev are intent on going for the jugular against Braga, the Ukraine side’s chairman Ihor Surkis saying: “We will need to score a goal and see how the game develops. Whatever happens, we have to play football and not sit tight in defence.”
Braga, who knocked out Liverpool in the last round, went behind to Andriy Yarmolenko’s sixth-minute opener but grabbed the all important away goal when Oleh Gusev turned into his own net seven minutes later.
Villarreal, who have never won the title, travel to Enschede to take on Dutch champions Twente missing suspended Nilmar and ther injured captain Gonzalo.
Nilamr was among the scorers last week, as was Giuseppe Rossi, his ninth goal of the competition, only one shy of leading scorer Falcao.
Bruno Soriano, one of five players to have figured in all 11 of the Yellow Submarine’s games since the group stage, said: “We know Twente are a good team and they will definitely want to show it at home.
“But we have a good advantage to take there and we just have to give a good confident performance.”
Villearreal are smarting after Sunday’s 5-0 thrashing by local rivals Valencia in La Liga.
- Manchester United vs Ajax predicted line-ups: Who will start the Europa League final in Stockholm?
- Phil Jones insists just winning the FA Cup is ‘not good enough’ for a club of Manchester United’s stature
- Just eight games into season and Manchester City flying, is it already time for Arsenal to concentrate on Europa League?
- Europa League final: Jose Mourinho’s amazing record in finals as Manchester United face Ajax in Stockholm
- Who is Fernando Llorente? Chelsea transfer target’s player profile and history – here’s what we know about the Spaniard
- Arsene Wenger says Arsenal’s transfer targets won’t change even if they miss out on the Champions League
- John Guidetti: Former Manchester City striker is out to dent Manchester United’s Europa League hopes with Celta Vigo… but who is he?
- Europa League: Leverkusen offer little resistance as Villarreal claim victory
- Ajax 2 Schalke 0: Everton target Davy Klassen gives Amsterdam giants massive advantage with brace in Europa League clash
- Lorenzo Pellegrini: Chelsea target, Italy U21 and Sassuolo midfielder who offers stunning bicycle kicks and much more
- Romelu Lukaku reveals Manchester United move was sealed by their Europa League triumph
- Europa League: Hoffenheim make it six Bundesliga losses in Europe
- Manchester United fans travelling to Rostov in Europa League may face hooligans who admit to targeting England supporters
- Manchester United win Europa League, beating Ajax 2-0
- Manchester United transfer news: Jose Fonte moves closer to Southampton exit after blasting club in contract row
- Manchester United target and Southampton captain Jose Fonte left out of Europa League team to face Hapoel
- Paul Pogba reveals his admiration for Manchester United target Antoine Griezmann
- Manchester United vs FC Rostov: What time is it, what TV channel is it on and what is the team news for the Europa League clash?
- Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho is still targeting Champions League football via the Premier League after Chelsea victory
- Jose Mourinho vows to beat Old Trafford chiefs target by two years and win the title this season
Iberian clubs target Europa stranglehold have 854 words, post on at April 13, 2011. This is cached page on Movie News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.