Valencia and Atletico Madrid ensured there will be two La Liga representatives in this season’s Europa League Quarter-Finals, after both sides snuck into the next round on the away goals rule.
David Villa was on top form, netting a hat-trick with Juan Mata scoring the other for Valencia as they played out arguably the game of the tournament so far with a 4-4 draw away to German side Werder Bremen, the scores 5-5 on aggregate.
However, it should have been a lot more comfortable for Los Che on the night.
Valencia led 3-1 at half-time and survived a late rally from Bremen, who clawed back to 3-3, only for Villa to restore the lead before Pizarro’s late leveller set up a tense finale. After surviving the late scare, it is Valencia who will take their place in Friday’s draw where they will be joined by Atletico Madrid after their impressive performance in Lisbon.
Sergio Aguero showed why he is one of the hottest properties in Europe at present, as he bagged a brace for Atletico as they held Sporting to a 2-2 draw. Atletico like Valencia, made it hard for themselves by leading twice on the night, allowing their hosts to level both times.
A gritty second half performance from Quique Flores’ men though was enough to put them in the hat with their La Liga rivals, with both sides hoping to avoid favourites Liverpool, who saw off Lille 3-1 on aggregate, and Wolfsburg, who defeated Rubin Kazan 3-2 on aggregate thanks to a winner in the last minute of extra-time from Christian Gentner.
Friday’s draw will not only include the draws for the Quarter-finals but also the Semi-finals, so if both sides can avoid being placed in the same half of the competition then they could potentially face each other in an all Spanish final in Hamburg on 12th May.
The draw will follow the UEFA Champion’s League draw which takes place at 11am, with Barcelona the only surviving La Liga hopefuls in the competition.