Europa League has proved to be quite contrasting as compared to the Champions League as all 3 British teams namely, Liverpool, Manchester City and Rangers were knocked out of the competition leaving with no British representation at the continent’s second best competition even as Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United form the crux of the quarter final line up at the Champions League.
Liverpool missed some glorious opportunities as Braga rallied strongly to hold off the five time champions Liverpool 0-0 at Anfield in a poor footballing display from the Reds. Andy Carroll, the record £35 million club record signing, also failed to inspire the Reds. With this exit, Liverpool finds themselves in danger of not qualifying for Europe for the first time since 1999’s. And with Tottenham 7 points clear of the Merseyside team, it will be a fight going all down the wire. A sterile display of football in front of the Liverpool owners did not send a good signal and Kenny Dalglish was quick to admit that and fears the same.
Manchester City had a different story to tell however. Trailing by 2 goals from the first leg at Kiev, Manchester City looked dominating and threatened to run away with the tie. However a stupid lurch with the boots from Balotelli earned a straight red card for him reducing his team to play with 10 men with an hour to go. However that too didn’t hamper their hopes as Kolarov scored from a free kick 3 minutes later. However playing with 10 men proved too much for them as they lost 1-2 in aggregate. Mancini was disheartened and is considering punishing Balotelli by not picking him up for the Chelsea tie
To compound the misery, Rangers lost 1-0 at home to PSV Eindhoven to wash out all the hard work they had done to accomplish a 0-0 draw. Walter Smith has much to worry about as his team allowed PSV to dominate the entire match and control the proceedings. In other matches, Spartak Moscow hammered Ajax 3-0 at the Luzhniki Stadium to wrap up a 4-0 aggregate win.
However, a heroic match was being played at Russia where Zenit St Petersburg stages a great fightback but their 2-0 victory was not enough as they capitulated to a 3-2 aggregate loss to Dutch team FC Twente.