clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Great soccer in Europa League Round of 32 overshadowed by fan trouble

We saw some truly amazing football in the second leg of the Europa League round of 32, but two matches saw fans disrupt the games and force temporary suspensions.

Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

You didn't have to look far to find entertaining football Thursday in the Europa League. Goals were scored in 15 of the 16 matches, with seven of them seeing at least four goals in the match. In the end, a whopping 47 goals were scored in this second leg, and there was very little to be dissatisfied about with the day's action.

Unfortunately, not everything was good. Dynamo Kiev's match against Guingamp was suspended for nearly 10 minutes after the home Ukrainian fans started pouring on to the pitch and fighting late in the first half. The exact cause of the disruption was unknown, but it was ugly to watch unfold.

Even worse, though, was the behavior of Feyenoord fans as they hosted Roma in Rotterdam. The home fans repeatedly pelted the referees and Roma players with various objects, including an inflatable banana thrown at Gervinho at one point in the first half. Play was halted twice as a result of the disruptions, and it only added yet another black mark on a fanbase loaded with them, and further added to the off-field issues with this tie after Feyenoord fans rioted in Rome last week and severely damaged a centuries-old landmark.

Fortunately, the quality of the football far outstripped the ugliness of those two fanbases, so let's focus on that, shall we?

Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-3 Sevilla (2-4 agg.)

An epic first half between Gladbach and Sevilla saw the two sides hit the break with a 2-2 scoreline in the match, but the Spanish side's 3-2 aggregate lead and two away goals gave them a commanding position in the tie. Gladbach came out swinging in the second half, knowing they had to score at least two goals to advance. They threw pretty much everything but the kitchen sink at Sevilla's defense, and probably would have thrown that too if they weren't too busy trying to score to find a wrench.

Sevilla kept carving Gladbach apart on the counter, though, and eventually out of desperation and frustration, Granit Xhaka got a little ... over-exuberant on a challenge, clattering a Sevilla player into the ad hoardings and earning himself a red card in the process. From there, it was only a matter of time before Sevilla scored, and of course that would come on yet another counter-attack, finishing off Gladbach in the dying minutes.

Red Bull Salzburg 1-3 Villarreal (2-5 agg.)

Despite the lopsided scoreline both in the second leg and aggregate score, this tie was brilliantly fought by both sides, and Salzburg did themselves proud for most of this match. They kept constant pressure on Villarreal for the first hour of the match, scoring in the 18th minute to equalize the aggregate scoreline and take an away goal advantage. They couldn't hold things as they were for long, though, and Villarreal scored through emerging star Luciano Vietto before halftime.

The second half was frantic, with both sides racing up and down the pitch to try to find a way to score. After the hour mark, though, it was clear that Villarreal had a fitness advantage over their Austrian opponents, with Salzburg wearing down badly as the end of the match approached. Villarreal recognized this and took a more restrained approach, sitting back and waiting for chances to counter, and it paid off with two goals in the space of four minutes late in the match to put the match and the tie to bed.

Fiorentina 2-0 Tottenham Hotspur (3-1 agg.)

Two teams desperate for European success always make for entertaining football, and this was no exception. The first half was frenetic as both teams rushed up and down the pitch trying to score, though the best chance of the half was marred when Tottenham striker Roberto Soldado choked and refused to take the shot in a one-on-one situation with Fiorentina's goalkeeper.

The second half saw Spurs slowly wear down, thanks largely to their congested schedule and Sunday's looming League Cup final. Fiorentina took full advantage and started to press forward more and more aggressively, and the momentum quickly swung fully in their direction. Mario Gomez scored the opener, and after he had one great chance saved, Mohamed Salah scored a second for the hosts 17 minutes later. Spurs tried to find a way to claw their way back into the tie, but their desperation only led to scattered, ineffective football as the clock wore down, and they'll be heading home to England with their heads hanging low.

Athletic Bilbao 2-3 Torino (4-5 agg.)

It's no surprise after such a fantastic first leg that the second would be just as good. This match saw exciting, quality football that raced from one end of the pitch to the other. An early mistake in the box for Athletic saw Torino earn a penalty put away cleanly by Fabio Quagliarella, and the two sides traded goals just before the half, wiping out the Spaniard's away goals advantage and making the tie Torino's to win if they could just keep the pressure on.

The two sides kept trading blows in the second half, and it was Athletic that found a breakthrough just past the hour mark, with Oscar De Marcos bringing things level again. That only caused Torino to kick it up another notch, and before long it was fullback Matteo Darmian blasting home to put Il Toro ahead by every measure imaginable in the tie. The Basque side pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed for another goal, but in the end they lost to an Italian side at home for the first time, and Torino were able to give Italy a whopping five teams in the round of 16.

All round of 32 aggregate scores and results

Zenit St. Petersburg 4-0 PSV (1-0, 3-0)
Dinamo Moscow 3-1. Anderlecht (0-0, 3-1)
Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-4 Sevilla (0-1, 2-3)
Legia Warsaw 0-4 Ajax Amsterdam (0-1, 0-3)
Dynamo Kiev 4-3 Guigamp (1-2, 3-1)
Red Bull Salzburg 2-5 Villarreal (1-2, 1-3) -- blog recap
Besiktas 1-1 (5-4 pen.) Liverpool (0-1, 1-0) -- blog recap
Fiorentina 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur (1-1, 2-0)  -- Fiorentina blog recapSpurs blog recap
Inter Milan 4-3 Celtic (3-3, 1-0)
Everton 7-2 BSC Young Boys (4-1, 3-1) -- blog recap
Club Brugge 6-1 AaB (3-1, 3-0)
Athletic Bilbao 4-5 Torino (2-2, 2-3)
Sporting Lisbon 0-2 Wolfsburg (0-2, 0-0)
Olympiakos 2-4 Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (0-2, 2-2)
Napoli 5-0 Trabzonspor (4-0, 1-0) -- blog recap
Feyenoord 2-3 AS Roma (1-1, 1-2)