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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