Athletic Bilbao have the edge over Valencia in the all-Spanish Europa League tie, a Raúl García header midway through the first half giving them a 1-0 win in a rainy San Mamés stadium. Elsewhere there were good results for the other two Liga teams, Sevilla drawing 0-0 at Basel (hosts of this year’s final), and Villarreal beating Bayer Leverkusen 2-0, both goals scored by Bakambu. (10.03.16)
Athletic Bilbao have the edge over Valencia in the all-Spanish Europa League tie, a Raúl García header from a Beñat free kick midway through the first half giving them a 1-0 win in the San Mamés stadium. A heavy rainstorm made playing conditions difficult, but the locals adapted quickly, Susaeta bringing an early save out of Mat Ryan, and Aduríz firing a shot just wide of the mark shortly before the break. Herrerín was only really tested by Rodrigo on a quick breakaway on the half hour mark, and after the interval Ryan was almost caught off his line by a free kick from Laporte taken from inside his own half. The visiting keeper had to be at his best to keep out Beñat and Sabin later on, and Aduríz failed to hit the target when free on goal with the game in injury time. All missed chances which Valverde’s team may yet rue when they meet again in the Mestalla stadium next Thursday.
Defending champions Sevilla have a good chance of reaching the quarter finals after a 0-0 draw at Basel (hosts of this year’s final) in their first leg tie, although once again they failed to win away from home, a major worry for Unai Emery this season. As it was however, keeper David Soria hardly had a save to make throughout the ninety minutes, Janko heading an early chance wide, and Steffen and Bjarneson failing to find the target after the restart. Coke went close with a couple of efforts before the break, and N’Zonzi, Gameiro and Konoplyanka all came up against Vaclik in the second half. With five minutes to go the Andalusians were left with ten men when N’Zonzi was sent off for a second bookable offence, but the game petered to an end soon afterwards.
Villarreal have set their sights on the Europa League this season, and they are looking good for a place in the quarter finals after a 2-0 victory over Bayer Leverkusen in the Madrigal stadium. Marcelino’s side started well, Soldado bringing a good save out of Leno before lifting the ball over for Bakambu to open the scoring in only the fourth minute. Chicharito tested Areloa with a header later in the first half, but Soldado turned a Samu Castillejo cross just wide of the post, and some ten minutes in to the second half Bakambu got his second of the evening on a quick counter-attack following a Leverkusen corner. Substitute Kruse fired the best chance for the visitors over the top later on, and the German side ended with ten men after Jedvaj picked up a second yellow card right at the end.