Friday, March 18, 2022

Premier League in Europe

Champions League

Manchester United is eliminated from the Champions League. The Red Devils failed to advance beyond the Round of 16 in losing 1-0 to Atletico Madrid at Old Trafford. The defeat likely ends any thoughts of Ralph Rangnick continuing next season as manager. Depressingly for Manchester United fans, the other two rumored managerial candidates for the Red Devils, Eric ten Hag and Mauricio Pochettino, both saw their favored current clubs bow out in this round of the Champions League as well.  Atletico Madrid took the lead in Tuesday’s match when Renan Lodi was left unmarked to head in a cross from Antoine Griezmann. Atletico shut the match down from there. There was no magic this time from Cristiano Ronaldo, without which Manchester United looks average at best and dysfunctional at worst. Atletico now moves on the quarterfinals to meet another Premier League club from Manchester. The Spanish club visits the Etihad on April 5th for the first leg of its tie with Manchester City. Chelsea, meanwhile, defeated Lille 2-1 to advance to the quarterfinals. Goals by Christian Pulisic and Cesar Azpilicueta helped the London club move on 4-1 in aggregate over the French squad. Chelsea draws Real Madrid in the quarterfinals, the first leg to be played at Stamford Bridge on April 5th.  Real Madrid surprised PSG to boot Messi, Neymar, Mbappe, and friends out of this year’s Champions League. Liverpool will be in Portugal April 5th for their quarterfinal first leg contest with Benfica, surprise winners over Ajax in the Round of Sixteen.

Europa League 

Ukrainian Andriy Yarmolenko struck for the winner in extra time to carry West Ham to a 2-0 win over Sevilla, overcoming a one goal deficit from the first leg and lifting the Hammers into the Europa League quarterfinals. David Moyes’ side will be home to Lyon on April 7th for the opening leg of their quarterfinal tie. Yarmolenko’s goal on Thursday was his second in less than a week, accomplished despite the sorrow at the devastation of his war struck homeland. Tomas Soucek had the opening goal on a night when the gritty Hammers eliminated a Sevilla club which has won the competition in four of the last eight years. West Ham reaches its first European quarterfinal since 1981.


Europa Conference League

Leicester moves into the quarterfinals of the Europa Conference League despite a 2-1 loss at Rennes. The Foxes claimed the tie 3-2 in aggregate thanks to Wesley Fofana’s goal on Thursday. The young Leicester defender delivered a command performance in his first match in seven months since breaking his leg in a preseason contest. The Foxes draw Dutch side PSV as their quarterfinal opponent. The first leg of the tie will be at the Foxes’ King Power Stadium on April 7th.

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