BILBAO, SPAIN - MARCH 15: Oscar de Marcos of Athletic Bilbao celebrates scoring his sides second goal during the UEFA Europa League Round 16 second Leg match between Athletic Bilbao and Manchester United at the San Mames stadium on March 15, 2012 in Bilbao, Spain. (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)

UEFA Europa League: City And United Both Knocked Out

So much for that all-Manchester final. Manchester United were eliminated at the hands of Athletic Bilbao, and City are lost on away goals to Sporting Lisbon.

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Manchester City Vs. Sporting Lisbon, 2012 Europa League: City Win 3-2 But Are Knocked Out On Away Goals

Manchester City's dismal week continued with a remarkable home match against Sporting Lisbon that sees the Premier League's second-place team dumped out of the Europa League. Although City had lost 1-0 in Portugal in the the first leg, they'd generated plenty of chances at the Estadio Jose Alvalade and looked as though they had every chance of overturning the deficit at the Etihad Stadium.

Wrong! Instead of rolling over like so many Premier League sides have done for Roberto Mancini's men, Sporting took the game to their expensively-built opponents, playing some excellent transition football while denying City much in the way of looks at Rui Patricio's goal. They weren't just sitting on their first-leg lead, either - Joe Hart's net was threatened several times in the early stages and was finally breached by Mathias Fernandez with a stunning free kick just after the half-hour mark.

Ricky van Wolfswinkel made it 2-0 Sporting six minutes later when he took advantage of Micah Richard's failure to track his run and Stefan Savic's failure to be someone who wasn't Stefan Savic, smashing home Mazat Izmailov's low cross from close range. The two away goals, combined with the first leg advantage, meant that City needed four goals to advance, and they'd looked like getting... well, none in the first half.

Sergio Aguero rectified that problem fifteen minutes into the second, picking the ball up in the penalty area before firing sweetly into Rui Patricio's top corner, but time was working against the English side and there was no way they could score fast enough to make it to the quarterfinals. City got their second thanks to a rather astonishing dive from Aguero, who 'won' a penalty after launching himself into the air in the general vicinity of Renato Neto, with Mario Balotelli only too happy to convert the ill-gotten spot kick.

Things got a little bit frisky after that. Nigel de Jong managed to spark a minor melee after trying to pick up the injured Bruno Pereirinha, and with the visitors attempting to waste as much time as humanly possible City were feeling rightly irked. With 15 minutes to go and the home side needing two goals to advance, things didn't look too promising, but Aguero notched another after a free kick bounced loose to the Argentine and then the match got very interesting indeed.

City, by this point, had realised that they were in with a shout of making it to the next round and were by now laying siege to Rui Patricio's goal. Cross after cross was flung into the box, with Sporting defending for their lives. Balotelli managed to pick up a booking for getting angry at Xandao for being kicked in the head. Five minutes of injury time later, goalkeeper Joe Hart came within a foot of winning the thing for City after being thrown forward, with his header flashing just wide of the post. But that chance was the last action of the match - despite the 3-2 win, City are out of the Europa League on away goals.


UEFA Europa League, Round Of 16: Early Wrap

Hannover 96 vs. Standard Liege

After a 2-2 draw in Belgium, the tie looked tilted in Hannover's favour, and the Bundesliga club more or less wrapped things up in the first half. It took just four minutes for Mohammed Abdellaoue to open the scoring from close range, and an own goal by Antonio Kanu made it 4-2 on aggregate in the 21st minute. Things would get worse for Standard Liege when Serge Gekpe chopped down Karim Haggui for a second bookable offence early in the second half, and another own goal by Kanu sealed their fate. The icing on Hannover's cake came in the last minute, when Sergio Pinto made it 4-0 on the night and 6-2 on aggregate.

PSV Eindoven vs. Valencia

After a 4-2 loss at the Mestalla, PSV had a mountain to climb against Valencia and never really looked like making it. Adil Rami's headed goal at the beginning of the second half wrapped things up for the La Liga side, and although PSV dangerman Ola Toivonen pulled a goal back fifteen minutes later, the hosts never looked likely to overturn even the deficit. The match eventually finished 1-1, leading Valencia to a 5-3 aggregate win that was somewhat marred by Rami's dismissal in the 89th minute, the defender being shown a straight red for a foul on Toivonen in the box that somehow didn't result in a penalty.

Udinese Vs. AZ Alkmaar

Although Udinese were staring a 2-0 deficit from the first leg, things looked very bright for the hosts as the game began. Within minutes of kickoff, AZ were down to ten men and losing on the night, with Nick Viergever dismissed for bringing down Antonio Floro Flores in the box and Antonio di Natale converting the resultant penalty. Udinese added a second when di Natale finished from close range ten minutes later, and it looked for all the world that the rout was on. Then something strange happened - Alkmaar scored. Half an hour in, Simon Poulsen managed to get to the byline and cut the ball back for Erik Falkenburg, who danced past a tackle and fired into the top corner. It was a vital away goal, and it turned out to be all the visitors needed as they lost 2-1 on the night but won 3-2 on aggregate.


Athletic Bilbao Vs. Manchester United, 2012 Europa League: Athletic Cruise Past United To Advance

After Manchester United's poor performance against Athletic Bilbao at Old Trafford last week, you'd have expected there to be some kind of response from Sir Alex Ferguson's side. After all, this is a team that made the Champions League final last season, a team that's just gone back to the top of the Premier League. They should have at least been good enough to give Athletic Club an actual game.

They weren't. The hosts were comfortably the better side throughout, and eventually ran out deserved 2-1 victors on the night and 5-3 on aggregate. The San Mames has witnessed some excellent football this season, and Athletic didn't disappoint the fans, hurling themselves at United from the opening whistle and forcing their guests into several mistakes. With a 3-2 lead from the first leg, the hosts didn't have to attack, but they almost couldn't help themselves. Iker Muniain set the tone after dancing into the box and slapping a shot against David de Gea's right-hand post, with Oscar de Marcos blazing the rebound well over from close range.

It was a disappointing miss, and it was easy to imagine it giving United some momentum, but Fernando Llorente, Athletic Club's talismanic striker, soon righted the ship, sending a fizzing first-time volley past de Gea following a brilliant 60-yard raking pass from Jon Aurtenetxe. Llorente, who had been a major fitness concern before the match, was replaced by Gaizka Torquero before halftime, but that didn't stop the hosts from pressing the attack.

Athletic had several more chances to double their lead, the best of which was probably a mazy run by Andoni Iraola that ripped open the United defence only for the 29-year-old to shoot wide at the vital moment. By this point, however, another goal looked like a simple matter of time - and it wasn't going to be United scoring it. Athletic were dominant, and with a two-goal aggregate lead the tie was virtually wrapped up.

De Marcos made sure of it in the 65th minute, sending a deflected effort past a scrambling de Gea after United failed to clear a simple cross from the right. Wayne Rooney did manage to pull one back with ten minutes to go, the England striker sending a fizzed drive into the top corner from 25 yards - a goal that sent the home fans into a standing ovation - but there was never any chance of a United comeback. After two minutes of stoppage time, the champions of England crash out of the Europa League, and Athletic march on.


Athletic Bilbao Vs. Manchester United, 2012 Europa League: Lineups

Athletic Bilbao take on Premier League giants Manchester United in the second leg of their Europa league clash. Having won the first leg 3-2 - and really, it should have been by a wider margin than that - Athletic are in a fantastic position to advance. They played brilliant football at Old Trafford, and if they do the same here, United are almost certainly out. That said, Sir Alex Ferguson always has a few tricks up his sleeve...

Athletic Bilbao starting lineup (4-3-3): Gorka Iraizoz; Andoni Iraola, Javi Martinez, Fernando Amorebieta, Jon Aurtenetxe; Ander Iturraspe, Ander Herrera, Oscar de Marcos; Markel Susaeta, Fernando Llorente, Iker Muniain.

Substitutes from: Raul Fernandez, Gaizka Toquero, Borja Ekiza, Mikel San Jose, David Lopez, Inigo Perez, Ibai Gomez.

Manchester United starting lineup (4-5-1): David de Gea; Rafael da Silva, Jonny Evans, Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra; Park Ji-Sung, Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley, Ryan Giggs, Ashley Young; Wayne Rooney.

Substitutes from: Ben Amos, Chris Smalling, Fabio da Silva, Paul Scholes, Paul Pogba, Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck.

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