Europa League Big Preview: Last-16 second legs
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Europa League Big Preview: Last-16 second legs



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In the UEFA Europa League round of 16, the group stage winners are taking on the sides that made it through the knockout round play-offs. And remember, the away-goals rule has been abolished so what you see is what you get!

What next?

Crvena zvezda vs Rangers (first leg: 0-3)

Winners of the ties earn a place in the quarter-final draw on Friday 18 March. There will also be draws for the semi-finals and, for procedural purposes, the final which takes place at Seville's Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán Stadium on 25 May.

There is more than a whiff of Rangers’ barnstorming run to the 2008 UEFA Cup final in the Scottish side's progress this term, but nobody in the camp is getting ahead of themselves after the first leg. It would be easy to dismiss Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s assertion that “it was a really tough game” as false modesty, but the assessment perhaps felt fairer than the scoreline. The Serbian side had three goals disallowed at Ibrox so hope is not lost – but they must work out how to nullify Rangers’ set-piece threat.

Did you know?

Crvena zvezda beat Rangers 3-0 at home on their way to European Cup glory in 1990/91.

Monaco vs Braga (0-2)

With the competition’s joint-top scorer Galeno leaving Braga for Porto in January, Monaco would have felt pretty confident about their chances in this tie provided they managed to keep Ricardo Horta quiet in the first leg. They did so – but the Portuguese side found a solution. Abel Ruiz and Vitor Oliveira stepped up by finding the net for Carlos Carvalhal’s men, while centre-back Fabiano delivered a delicious cross for the second goal. Can Monaco bounce back given they have mustered only seven goals in as many games in the competition this term?

Did you know?

Braga have lost eight of their last 11 matches in the knockout phase of the Europa League (W3).

Leverkusen vs Atalanta (2-3)

“Scoring that second goal was very important,” Gerardo Seoane said of the Moussa Diaby effort that limited Leverkusen’s losses in Italy last week. The German side will need more than home comforts, though, and while they may celebrate their efficiency, the Werkself ultimately mustered two shots on target in the first leg. Atalanta dominated long periods, and Luis Muriel's double underlined the attacking threat the Italian side always carry. If Leverkusen overcommit then the visitors will surely make them pay.

Did you know?

Atalanta have registered in each of their last 11 European away games, collecting wins against the likes of Liverpool and Ajax in the process.

Galatasaray vs Barcelona (0-0)

Galatasaray brought in a bit of European light to combat the domestic gloom that is hanging over the club last week, in a performance where they followed the game plan as tightly as they marked their opponents. Can they repeat the trick in front of their own fans? Barcelona will not likely make the same mistakes twice, and the return of Sergio Busquets and in-form Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could elevate the Catalan side back to the heights they reached against Napoli in the last round. If they do, they will be difficult to subdue.

Did you know?

Galatasaray boss Domènec Torrent was on the coaching staff at Barcelona from 2007 to 2012, and followed Josep Guardiola to both Bayern and Manchester City before going it alone in 2018.

Lyon vs Porto (1-0)

There was little to choose between this pair in Portugal last week, two prize fighters slugging it out as the lactic acid cramped the joints and fuzzed the thinking. “It will be different in France,” Porto boss Sérgio Conceição promised, so will he turn to fresh legs for attacking impetus? Otávio's suspension means there will be at least one change, with Toni Martínez set to reprise his star turn as joker. Europa League joint-top scorer Galeno also looked sharp when he came on in the first leg, and the bench contributed three of Sunday's four goals against Tondela.

Did you know?

Porto have won both the previous two-legged ties between these teams – in the 1964/65 European Cup Winners' Cup and 2003/04 Champions League – but only after victories in the home leg.

West Ham vs Sevilla (0-1)

Sevilla's standing as the wise old owls and West Ham’s as inexperienced upstarts in this competition was a theme personified by two of the stand-out players from the first leg of this tie. In 36-year-old Jesús Navas, the Spanish side had the epitome of composure and poise. In the opposition ranks, 23-year-old Declan Rice embodied the Hammers' relentless spirit and determination. There was little to choose between the teams or those individuals that night, but only one – the Europa League master or apprentice – can make it to the last eight.

Did you know?

Sevilla are undefeated in their previous eight matches against English opposition in the UEFA Cup and Europa League (W6 D2).

Eintracht Frankfurt vs Real Betis (2-1)

“The tie is open,” said Betis keeper Claudio Bravo after the first leg – and he should know. Bravo pulled off a string of fine second-half saves, denying Rafael Borré on three occasions, including from the penalty spot, to keep Betis in the hunt. That means “an extra life” for Manuel Pellegrini’s side according to Spanish newspaper Marca, but do they have enough left in the tank to seize their chance?

Did you know?

Daichi Kamada’s goal in the first leg took his Europa League tally to ten in 17 appearances – as many as he’s scored in 87 matches in the Bundesliga.

No away goals rule

Ties in which the two teams score the same number of goals over the two legs are no longer decided on the number of goals scored away but by two 15-minute periods of extra time and, if necessary, a penalty shoot-out.

When is the Europa League quarter-final draw?

The 2021/22 UEFA Europa League quarter-final and semi-final draws take place on Friday 18 March at the House of European Football in Nyon, Switzerland. The live stream will appear here.

Sevilla’s Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán Stadium will stage the Europa League final on Wednesday 18 May. (SuperSport)



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