Jonas (L) of Valencia celebrates scoring his sides opening goal with his teammate Sofiane Feghouli during the la Liga match between Valencia CF and Levante at Estadio Mestalla in Valencia, Spain. (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)

UEFA Europa League: Three Spanish Clubs, Sporting Through

Three teams from Spain and one from Portugal will be going to the UEFA Europa League semifinals.

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9 Total Updates since April 5, 2012
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Metalist Kharkiv Vs. Sporting Lisbon, 2012 Europa League: Final Score 1-1, Sporting Advance On Aggregate

Metalist Kharkiv came agonizingly close to reversing their 2-1 loss in Lisbon and advancing to the Europa League semifinals, but fell at what was essentially the last hurdle.

The Ukrainians, who had already pulled off one great escape in this tournament after advancing past Olympiakos in the previous round despite being down 1-0 away from home right at the death, had done just enough against Sporting Lisbon in the first leg, snatching an away goal via penalty at the Estádio José Alvalade after going 2-0 down to keep things close.

Sporting weren't particularly interested in a close game, of course, and pushed early for an away goal of their own at Metalist Stadium. They eventually got one through Ricky van Wolfswinkel just before halftime, but that was cancelled out by Jonathan Cristaldo's effort around the hour mark. With the tie in the balance, Metalist threw bodies forward and were eventually rewarded when Xandão fouled Marko Devic in the box. Cleiton Xavier, who had scored the spot kick in the first leg, then proceeded to make a complete mess of the penalty, shooting low but far too close to Rui Patrício, and his effort was easily kept out as a result.

That would prove to be the decisive moment, as the visitors held on for a 1-1 draw on the night and a 3-2 aggregate win. Manchester City's conquerors move on -- but with Athletic Bilbao waiting for them in the semifinals, this could be the end of the road for Sporting.

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Valencia Vs. AZ Alkmaar, 2012 Europa League: Final Score 4-0 Valencia, Los Che Advance

Valencia's form hasn't been spectacular of late, but they put in a great performance at the Mestalla to see off AZ Alkmaar and advance to the Europa League semifinals.

Having lost 2-1 in the Netherlands, things weren't looking ideal for Unai Emery's men, but they got off to a blistering start at home, going ahead 2-0 within the first 17 minutes through the unlikely figure of Adil Rami.

Set-piece defending did AZ in -- twice in three minutes they allowed Rami time and space on short corners -- and they were made to pay the price both times as Valencia raced out to a lead. Although a 2-0 scoreline was hardly safe for the home side -- an Alkmaar goal would have meant extra time -- Valencia always looked like the winners and left back Jordi Alba grabbed another just after the interval to secure the win. Substitute Pablo Hernández came on in the 75th minute, and before long the midfielder made it 4-0 with a lovely curling effort about which Esteban Alvarado could do nothing.

After two minutes of injury time, 4-0 is how it would end, meaning that Valencia advance with a 5-2 aggregate win. Not bad going, eh? Los Che will face Atlético Madrid, who beat Bundesliga side Hannover 96 4-2 on aggregate. Alkmaar, meanwhile, will be left to reflect on a pretty thumping loss, one that really demonstrated the wide gulf in class between the two sides.

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