The 2nd leg ties in the Round of 32 in the Europa League was the cynosure on Thursday night as a host of big names desperately attempted to squeeze through to the next round. English giants Liverpool couldn’t manage that feat as they crashed out on away goals despite defeating Zenit 3-1 at Anfield. The other three English participants also secured their place in the next round with narrow victories. Chelsea drew 1-1 at home with Sparta Prague but Eden Hazard’s injury-time equalizer meant that the Blues went through with a 2-1 aggregate scoreline.
Tottenham went through the same set of emotions as Moussa Debmele’s dramatic late goal secured a 1-1 draw at Lyon and with it a 2-1 victory in the tie. Newcastle United headed into the unknown in Kharkiv but emerged with a 1-0 victory to seal their place in the last-16. Holders Atletico Madrid were sent packing by Rubin Kazan, who won the tie 2-1 on aggregate despite losing to a solitary Radamel Falcao goal last night. Ajax and Napoli were the other big names to be sent crashing out on the night, with Inter Milan and Lazio holding the Serie A flag aloft with their progress.
Liverpool 3-1 Zenit (3-3 Aggregate, Zenit through on away goals)
Liverpool’s hopes of a trophy this season have vanished after they were sent packing from Europe’s 2nd tier competition by Zenit. Coming into Anfield with a 2-0 lead, Zenit immediately set about increasing their advantage and they were gifted that opportunity by Jamie Carragher, who lost the ball in his own half 19 minutes in to allow Hulk a clean run on goal. The Brazilian unsurprisingly made no mistake as he clinically finished past Pepe Reina to give the Russians the vital away goal.