Spanish football clubs continue to dominate in Europe with three moving through to the Europa League semi-finals following tonight’s quarter-final second legs.
This week saw Barcelona and Real Madrid move into the last quartet of teams in the Champions League and tonight’s Europa results made it five clubs from Spain left in the last eight in both European competitions.
Valencia went into their home leg trailing 2-1 after Dutch club AZ Alkmaar did the job last week but Los Che were ruthless at Estadio Mestalla, recording a 4-0 win to move through 5-2 on aggregate thanks to an early double from Adil Rami who was joined by Jordi Alba and Pablo on the scoresheet.
Unai Emery’s men will now meet La Liga rivals Atletico Madrid in the final four after Los Rojiblancos beat German club Hannover 2-1 away from home to progress 4-2 on aggregate after Adrian and Radamel Falcao scored either side of Mame Biram Diouf’s late strike.
Valencia and Atletico’s fellow Spaniards Athletic Bilbao also qualified for the penultimate stage of Europe’s second tier club competition despite being held to a 2-2 home draw by Schalke. The Germans opened the scoring through Klaas-Jan Huntelaar before Ibai Gomez answered and then Markel Susaeta canceled out Raul’s – Europe’s leading scorer of all time – 52nd minute effort.
Bilbao, who stunned Manchester United in the Round of 16, will meet Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon in their semi-final after they held off Ukraine’s Metalist Kharkiv to draw 1-1 on the night to progress 3-2 on aggregate.
The 2011/12 Europa League semi-finals will commence on April 19 with Atletico hosting Valencia and Sporting at home to Bilbao before the return legs on April 26. The final will take place at the Arena National in Bucharest on May 9.
2011/12 UEFA Europa League quarter-final second leg scores
Metalist Kharkiv (UKR): 1 (Jonathan Cristaldo 57’)
Sporting Lisbon (POR): 1 (Ricky van Wolfswinkel 45’) *Sporting wins 3-2 on aggregate