Football: Both Manchester teams out of Europe as Bilbao and Sporting profit

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Sunday, March 18, 2012

They might be occupying first and second place in the Premier League back in England, but Manchester United and Manchester City were defeated following the second legs of their respective UEFA Europa League ties.

March 15, 2012
Athletic Bilbao 2 – 1 Manchester United Estadio San Mamés, Bilbao
Attendance: 40,000
Referee: C. Çakır
Llorente Scored after 23 minutes 23'
de Marcos Scored after 65 minutes 65'
(agg 5 - 3) Rooney Scored after 80 minutes 80'
Óscar de Marcos scored Bilbao's second
Image: Рыбакова Елена.

Manchester United went into their game against Athletic Bilbao seeking to overcome a 3–2 deficit dealt in the first leg; they were soundly defeated.

Bilbao began the game strongly, immediately pressing United and looking to attack whenever possible. The English side were the first to strike, with left midfielder Ashley Young's early shot needing a block to stay out. Iker Muniain saw his 14th minute shot strike a post, and Óscar de Marcos miss the rebound, as Bilbao worked to break United's defence down.

The opener came on 23 minutes, with young Spaniard Fernando Llorente converting from Fernando Amorebieta's lobbed through ball after completely fooling the United back four. The game ended early for Llorente, as he was forced off the pitch after an injury.

The Manchester side picked up their game in the second half; they were continually thwarted by the host's defences. Bilbao remained at their high tempo to prevent any sort of response, and soon full back Andoni Iraola knocked wide after an impressive run.

Bilbao's lead was doubled on 65 minutes as de Marcos converted from a floated cross by Iraola from the right, and the club never looked like slipping up throughout the rest of the game. Wayne Rooney, playing as a lone striker for United, finally gave his club's fans their money's worth with ten minutes left to play as he hit home from long range.

It was surely a humbling defeat for a team pushing to beat their city rivals to their domestic title, inflicted by seventh-placed Bilbao of La Liga. It means that for only the first time in ten years, Manchester United have failed to reach a cup final.




March 15, 2012
Manchester City 3 – 2 Sporting Clube de Portugal City of Manchester Stadium, Manchester
Attendance: 38,021
Referee: T. H. Hagen
Agüero Scored after 60 minutes 60', Scored after 82 minutes 82'
Balotelli Scored after 75 minutes 75' (pen)
(agg 3 - 3)
Sporting win on
away goals
Fernández Scored after 33 minutes 33'
van Wolfswinkel Scored after 40 minutes 40'
Sergio Agüero, pictured here playing for Argentina, scored twice on the night
Image: Ludovic Péron.

Portugal's Sporting Club had beaten Manchester City 1–0 at home, and only needed to consolidate that result in Manchester. The hosts put up a spirited fightback in the closing minutes; it was not enough to avoid elimination.

A slow first half from a full-strength City side meant they were easily contained by the visitors, and indeed Sporting were first to test the goalkeeper. Xandão's header early on was a sign of things to come for City, and they opening the scoring on 33 minutes with a free kick taken directly by Matías Fernández.

Just seven minutes later the Manchester team were beaten again, as Marat Izmailov set up a pinpoint cross allowing Dutchman Ricky van Wolfswinkel to tap in a close-range finish and make it 3–0 on aggregate.

Despite trailing by three, City looked far more determined in the first half. Their first goal of the two legs came after an hour, as Argentinian international Sergio Agüero finished off Yaya Touré's good pass from just inside the penalty box.

Agüero assisted in the second goal, in a way; after falling from a poor tackle by Sporting defender Renato Neto, the hosts were awarded a penalty kick. Mario Balotelli duly took the ball past Rui Patricio to level the scores on the night.

Late substitute Edin Džeko nodded a good corner from Aleksandar Kolarov towards Agüero, who was left completely open at the far post, who made no mistake with his finish to put Manchester City ahead with eight minutes left to play.

An action-packed eight minutes was topped off by City goalkeeper Joe Hart, who got his head onto a ball drifted from the host's corner but was denied by a good save from Patricio. Sporting struggled to withstand intense pressure, but held out to win the tie on the away goals rule.


Sources

Bookmark-new.svg