Friday 09 March 2012

Thursday's UEFA Europa League review

Man Utd lose at home to Athletic Bilbao, while Man City are beaten at Sporting

Manchester United's Ryan Giggs tries to get a shot in on the Athletic Bilbao goal

Manchester United 2-3 Athletic Bilbao

Manchester United face a difficult task to reach the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League after a last-16 first-leg defeat at home against Athletic Bilbao.

Sir Alex Ferguson's men started brightly and went in front halfway through the first half when Wayne Rooney tapped in after Gorka Iraizoz had saved Javier Hernandez's shot.

But Bilbao were impressive throughout and they levelled before the break when leading scorer Fernando Llorente headed in a cross from the right.

Bilbao edged ahead when Oscar De Marcos latched on to Ander Herrera's pass to fire past David de Gea, who made some stunning saves on the night.

Iker Munain fired into the roof of the net to make it 3-1, but Rooney struck from the penalty spot in injury time to hand United a late boost going into the second leg next Thursday at the San Mames.

Sporting Lisbon 1-0 Manchester City

Manchester City, meanwhile, will have to overhaul a deficit in their second leg at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday 15th March after losing in Portugal.

City suffered an early blow when captain Vincent Kompany limped off with an injury and they fell behind when Brazilian defender Xandao beat Joe Hart with a cheeky backheel from close range.

City went close to an equaliser when Alex Kolarov's cross clipped the top of the bar and then substitute Mario Balotelli headed against the woodwork, but they could not find a crucial away goal.

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Key Points

  • Man Utd lost UEFA Europa League last 16 first leg tie against Athletic Bilbao
  • Wayne Rooney scored twice, but Athletic won 3-2
  • Man City lose their first leg 1-0 against Sporting