News Archive

Europa League, round of 32, first leg

Not the best of days for Spanish sides in the first leg of the first qualifying round, with Villarreal, Atlético Madrid and Athletic Bilbao only drawing at home, and Valencia losing 1-0 away.

Villarreal drew 2-2 with Wolfsburg, a result which means they realistically have to win in Germany next week. Marcos Senna fired them in to the lead with a powerful free kick in to the top corner of the net shortly before half time, but two goals from Grafite after the break turned the scoreline around, the first an angled shot and the second a penalty after Marcano was sent off for bringing down the striker. Substitute Marco Rubén saved the draw though after Llorente played back a long ball in to his path with five minutes to go.

Valencia lost 1-0 to Club Brugge, the only goal coming ten minutes in to the second half when a shot on the turn by Kouemaha bounced off a bumpy pitch through the hands of Moyà. Earlier in the first half Kouemaha had hit the bar, but Villa could have equalised when his shot came back off the post with twenty minutes to go. It was a physical game though, Mathieu stretchered off with a serious injury after a hard tackle by Hoefkens midway through the first half, and Silva getting himself sent off for a second booking soon after the restart.

Later in the evening Atlético Madrid were held to a 1-1 draw by Frank Rijkaard's Galatasaray, a disappointing result after they were on top for most of the game. Reyes opened the scoring midway through the first half with a well struck free kick, and after that Leo Franco kept out Agüero and Simao hit the post. But keeper De Gea left the field with an injury after the restart, and his replacement Sergio Asenjo hesitated coming out to Balta's cross to allow Keita to beat him from a wide angle with a quarter of an hour to go.

Athletic Bilbao could also only draw 1-1 with Anderlecht in a match which was marred by crowd trouble between the two sets of supporters, who ended up fighting on the pitch after the final whistle. The Basque side went behind ten minutes before the interval when Gorka Iraizoz spilled a shot from Lukaku in to the path of Biglia. San José equalised a few minutes after the restart following a corner, but despite dominating after that, Athletic were unable to find the goal they needed to take the advantage in to next week's second leg. (18.02.10)