Europa League: Difficult night for Spanish sides as Betis, Real Sociedad lose

Madrid (Spain), March 10 (IANS) Sevilla look as if they could be the only Spanish side in the quarterfinals of the Europa League after the first leg of the round of 16 on Thursday night. The La Liga strugglers gave a boost to under-pressure coach Jorge Sampaoli with a 2-0 home win over Turkey’s Fenerbahce.

An even game tilted Sevilla’s way in the 56th minute thanks to an excellent shot from Joan Jordan, who had come into the game as a second-half substitute, according to news agency Xinhua.

Erik Lamela doubled Sevilla’s lead five minutes from time with a well-placed left-foot shot.

Things were not positive for Spain’s other two sides in the tournament as Real Betis and Real Sociedad both slipped to defeat.

Betis lost 4-1 at a snowy Old Trafford where they matched Manchester United for the first half but were totally outplayed after the break.

RASHFORD STARS FOR UNITED

Marcus Rashford put United ahead with a powerful finish in the sixth minute, but Ayoze Perez levelled with an angled drive in the 32nd minute.

Antony’s shot into the corner put United back in front in the 52nd minute and Bruno Fernandes’ powerful header from a corner made it 3-1 seven minutes later before Wout Weghorst’s 82nd close-range finish sealed the win.

Real Sociedad’s dreadful record of going out of the tournament in the first knockout round is in danger of continuing for another year after they lost 2-0 away to Roma.

The side from San Sebastian controlled much of the ball but fell behind to a 13th-minute goal from Stephen El Shaarawy following good work from Tammy Abraham. Three minutes from time, Marash Kumbulla headed in the second following a corner.

In the Conference League, Villarreal tied 1-1 with Belgian side Anderlecht. Manu Trigueros’ first-half goal put Villarreal ahead, but Anders Dreyer levelled in the 57th minute.

–IANS

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