A bad night for Spanish sides in the first legs of their quarter finals, both losing without even being able to score away from home. Valencia are virtually out of the competition after they were beaten 3-0 by Basel in a match which was played behind closed doors, Delgado scoring twice for the Swiss side late on in the first half, and Stocker getting the third right at the end. And Sevilla have an uphill battle after they lost 1-0 at Porto, Mangala heading the only goal following a quickly taken free kick with just over half an hour on the clock. The return legs are next Thursday. (03.04.14)
Valencia are virtually out of the Europa League after they were beaten 3-0 by Basel in the first leg of their quarter final! The tie was played behind closed doors after UEFA imposed a ban on the Swiss side when fans threw objects on to the pitch in their last match, curiously the third time in a row that an away game involving the Ches was affected by incidents off the pitch, the fixture at Kiev switched to Cyprus, and the game against Ludogorets relocated to Sofia. However Basel were not affected by the lack of supporters, Guaita having to save from Marcelo Díaz early on, and Schar also going close from distance. By half time the locals were two up, Delgado picking up a short pass from Philipp Degen before striking an angled shot past the visiting keeper, and then turning in Stocker’s long cross just four minutes later. Pizzi’s side didn’t react until after the interval, Alcácer going close and Vargas and Keita testing Sommer, and Vargas failing to convert a couple more relatively easy chances. With two minutes to go though Stocker ran on to score a third following a rapid breakaway, a killer blow which probably puts the tie beyond Valencia’s reach.
Sevilla have an uphill battle to make it through to the semi-finals after they lost 1-0 at Porto in their first leg tie. The Andalusians were outclassed for much of the match, and their only real chance in the first half came when Fabiano blocked a Rakitic free kick, and the rebound ricocheted off Jackson Martínez just past the post. A couple of minutes later though Fernando took a quick free kick at the other end, and Mangala dived to head Quaresma’s cross past Beto. Before half time the ex Porto keeper saved from Quaresma and then got enough on Defour’s shot to deflect it on to the post, and after the restart Quaresma, Martínez and Quintero all went close. Unai Emery brought on Gameiro, who could have scored soon after coming on had he reacted quicker to the rebound when Fabiano saved a shot from Bacca. The Portuguese side were left with ten men when Fernando was given two bookings in a strange incident after the referee played the advantage rule following a first foul, and then produced two yellow cards at once after the midfielder committed a second infraction. But even so Sevilla were lucky to be let off the hook when Quaresma shot was deflected against the upright by a defender. Still only one goal in it, and Fernando and Martínez will both be suspended for the return leg in Spain, but right now Porto must be favourites to make it in to the semi-finals.