A full house for Spanish sides in the Europa League, all three making it through to the last 16. That of course means that there will be a Sevilla city derby for the first time ever in a European competition, the (bad) luck of the draw pairing together Betis and FC Sevilla in the next round! Betis had the hardest battle tonight, the Andalusians going in to the return match against Rubin Kazan in Russia with a 1-1 scoreline from the first leg. However they weathered temperatures well below zero to run out 0-2 winners, local keeper Ryzhikov deflecting a wayward shot by Nono in to his own net just before the break, and Rubén Castro scoring the second with a delightful chip over the keeper after a good run by Leo Baptistao. A little later in the evening Sevilla made sure of their place in history with a 2-1 win over Maribor, and although goals either side of half time by Reyes and Gameiro put them well on their way, there was a late scare when Vrsic got one back for the Slovenians in injury time. Valencia joined their Southern colleagues after a 2-0 aggregate victory over Dynamo Kiev, the two goals scored last week away from home enough to take them through together with a 0-0 draw in the Mestalla stadium tonight. Valencia’s opponents in the next round will be Bulgaria’s Ludogorets, who knocked out Lazio thanks to a last minute strike earlier in the evening. (27.02.14)
Betis made it through to a last sixteen meeting with city neighbours Sevilla after weathering temperatures well below zero to beat Rubin Kazan 0-2. The Russian side were favourites after the first leg 1-1 scoreline in Spain, but Gabriel Calderón’s team dominated right from the start, with Jordi Figueras firing a shot against the upright and Cedrick bringing a good save out of Ryzhikov. The keeper had been one of the stars of the game a week ago, but with the first half coming to a close he made the silliest of mistakes, trying to push clear a shot from Nono which was going wide, and only succeeding in deflecting the ball in to his own net. After the restart Karadeniz came close to an equalizer, but with just over an hour gone Leo Baptistao finished off a good run with a pass out for Rubén Castro to beat the keeper again with a delightful chip in to the far corner of the net. Nobody was going to deny them the chance of facing up against the old enemy for the first time ever in a European competition.
Sevilla made sure of their place in a historic last sixteen meeting with city rivals Betis after a 2-1 win over Maribor on Thursday evening. The 2-2 draw in the first leg gave the Andalusians the edge, and only a couple of saves by Handanovic prevented Reyes and Gameiro from scoring early on. Gameiro and Rakitic fired shots wide later in the first half, but with four minutes to go to the break Reyes put the locals ahead, charging down a clearance by the visiting keeper and seeing the rebound bounce back in to the net. Gameiro made it two on the hour mark after picking up a deflected pass and firing an angled shot inside the far post, and Rakitic tested Handanovic again a few minutes later. Up to that point the Slovenian side had hardly managed a shot at goal, but with seven minutes to go Javi Varas had to save from Vrsic, and with the game in injury time the substitute got on the end of a Milec cross to pull one back, setting up a nervous last couple of minutes for the home fans.
Valencia are in to the last sixteen of the Europa League despite being held to a 0-0 draw by Dynamo Kiev in the Mestalla stadium, the two goals scored last week in Cyprus enough to take them through. With Yarmelenko back in the line up after serving out a one match ban, the Ukrainiain side were looking to score early on, and Veloso fired a free kick just over the top in the opening minutes. In reply Dani Parejo fired a shot past the post and then floated in a free kick which Vargas headed wide, and Paco Alcácer got the ball in the net only for the strike to be ruled out for offside. Vargas and Alcácer missed further chances after the restart, but the Ches were more interested in keeping their opponents at bay, and it was not until the last twenty minutes that Veloso hit the bar, and Khacheridi steered a header just wide. A comfortable aggregate win in the end however, and Valencia’s opponents in the next round will be Bulgaria’s Ludogorets, who knocked out Lazio thanks to a last minute strike earlier in the evening.