Europa League Quarter-Finalists Confirmed


The quarterfinals of the Europa League will be lacking an English side for the first time since the 1992/93 as Dynamo Kyiv upset Everton, reigning Champions Sevilla march on with ease past their fellow countrymen Villareal, and an all-Italian matchup ends with an easy aggregate victory for the Florentines.

Roma 0-3 Fiorentina (1-4 aggregate)

Roma and Fiorentina played out an interesting draw in Florence for the first leg of their all-Italian round of 16 tie, the second leg was a one-man show from the visitors. In the last leg, Roma rallied and came away from the match feeling like they should have secured a win. While at home, they looked flat, lifeless and disorganized. Their own goalkeeper gifted a goal in the 17th minute when he touched the ball right into the path of Alonso rather than letting it go out for a corner kick. Roma’s steady decline from second-place in Serie A and Europa League contenders is surely causing some concerns among their dedicated fans.

All three goals from Fiorentina were direct results of Roma’s shaky defense. The visitors did a brilliant job of balancing their attack and defense, playing out an easy win that will see them through to the quarter finals.

Dynamo Kyiv 5-2 Everton (6-4 aggregate)

While Everton were able to find enough momentum in the second forty-five of the first leg in Liverpool to earn a 2-1 advantage to bring with them to Ukraine, they were unable to successfully penetrate the home side while defending their own goal.

Goals were plentiful in the first half and both sides put on an entertaining display for the Kyiv fans. A stunner from Yarmolenko in the 21st minute opened the scoring on the night but Lukaku was quick to reply with a goal in the 29th minute following a shot off the woodwork from Ross Barkley. Everton’s celebrations were short lived as they were quickly overwhelmed by the home side and conceded two back-to-back goals in the 35th and 37th minutes, results of shaky defending and a lucky deflection for Veloso’s latter strike. Dynamo went in to the break with the 3-1 advantage.

Everton were not outplayed on the night, but they did manage to gift some chances to their opposition. Gusev’s 56th minute goal was a follow-up on a blocked shot from Coleman while a great individual effort from Antunes saw in Dynamo’s fifth. While Jagielka netted one six minutes from time, it was too little too late and an organized Dynamo snuffed out Everton to move on to the quarter finals. They will play Fiorentina of Italy.

Ajax 2-1 Dnipro (2-2 aggregate, Dnipro win on away goals)

A win on the night was not enough to see the Dutch Champions through to the quarterfinals as the underdogs Dnipro of Ukraine won out on away goals. Ajax’s failure to score during the first leg away from home came back to haunt them as a single goal in extra time from Konoplyanka ended their European season. The two sides were tied 1-1 on aggregate after Bazoer’s clean finish in the 60th minute cancelled out the visitors lead. Dnipro snagged their crucial away goal just three minutes into extra time with a powerful, curling shot from Konoplyanka that had too much swerve for Cillesson to get a hand on. While the Ajax substitude Van Der Hoorn threw himself at a rebound off the crossbar and was rewarded with a goal, the Dutch couldn’t find the back of the net again and crashed out of the competition.

Dnipro will play Belgian opposition Club Brugge, who had no problem with their Turkish opposition.

Besiktas 1-2 Brugge (2-5 aggregate)

Two late headers from substitute Bolingoli-Mbombo saw Brugge through as they capitalized on their narrow lead they brought with them from Belgium. Beskitas dominated in front of their home crowd, boasting 60% of the possession. However, their defense was lacking on the night and both of Brugge’s goals were a result of Mbombo having a quick dribble through their scrambling back line and an easy crack at goal. Thanks to a stunner from Motta just a few minutes into the second half, it looked as though Besiktas could maybe pull off the victory but Brugge managed to stay composed and caught their overwhelmed opposition on the counter attack. The two goals from Mbombo’s fresh legs will carry them through to a tough match-up with Dnipro.

Internazionale 1-2 Wolfsburg (2-5 aggregate)

Stunning stuff from former Swiss number one Diego Benaglio denied Internazionale a comeback against their exceedingly tough German opposition. De Bruyne was on point (although not on the scoreboard) once again for Wolfsburg as the Belgian orchestrated a fantastic performance from the German side in Milan. While Inter Milan came out swinging and played with the rightful intensity a team trailing 1-3 on aggregate ought to play, some fantastic work from Benaglio between the posts and some of Wolfsburg’s notoriously organized defending denied them the chance to equalize and progress. Caligiurli put a damper on Inter’s chances of a comeback in the 24th minute when he found the back of the net for the visitors. Palacio pulled one back for the hosts in the 71st minute but his effort turned in to a consolation as Wolfsburg’s substitution Bendter iced the visitor’s cake with a goal one minute from time.

The German’s will carry their winning momentum forward into their quarterfinal fixture with Rafa Benitez’s Napoli.

Dinamo Moscow 0-0 Napoli (1-3 aggregate)

Napoli’s home victory in the first leg was advantage enough to see them through to the quarterfinals. Dinamo Moscow failed to handle their Italian visitors as Benitez’s men put on a brilliant display of tactical organization to defend their lead. Napoli were unlucky to score, hitting the post twice while also holding off Moscow’s intensified attack. While the home side looked better in the second half, they were unable to find the two goals that would have put them through.

Torino 1-0 Zenit (1-2 aggregate)

Torino were another Italian side to suffer an aggregate loss to a Russian opponent as they battled Zenit St. Petersburg. While Hulk and Cristico had overwhelmed them in the first leg and netted two goals, neither player was able to find the back of the net. The two teams were well-matched, sharing the possession 50/50. Torino looked better in the attack and especially lethal on set pieces. Glik’s 49th minute header that was ruled offside was the result of a corner kick for Torino.

When the home side did find the back of the net in the final minute of regular time, the six additional minutes added by the fourth official ticked by agonizingly slow for Villas-Boas’s men.  The Russian side were able to hold on for the win, but they will need to do better when they face the defending champions Sevilla.

Sevilla 2-1 Villareal (5-2 aggregate)

Sevilla played out a less-than-enthralling match on their home turf but got the job done against league rivals Villareal. While the first leg boasted the fasted goal in competition history (13 seconds from Vitolo), the second leg was rather lifeless. Villareal failed to play like a team that desperately needed goals. Their one dignity goal was a stunning strike from Giovanni Dos Santos in the 73rd minute following a long spell of choppy play, cheap fouls and failed buildups from the visiting side. Sevilla played out the match cautiously and defensively but still managed to find the back of the net through their captain Iborra and their young Spanish genius Denis Suarez. Sevilla secured themselves the opportunity to continue to defend their title against Villas-Boas’s Zenit.


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