A roundup of Thursday’s UEFA Europa League round of 32 action…
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FC Midtjylland 2-1 Manchester United — FULL RECAP
Yet another new low for the once-biggest/greatest/most dominant club in English football — losing away to the reigning Danish Superliga champions. Optics, which are obviously horrible, aside, Man United are in fine enough shape to advance to the round of 16, thanks to the fact they grabbed an away goal in the first half. The Red Devils will advance with a 1-0 home victory in next week’s second leg, or any two-goal victory. A 2-1 victory for United would see the tie head into extra time and potentially a penalty shootout.
Fiorentina 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Speaking of results that are just fine and will set up a Premier League side quite advantageously ahead of the second leg, Tottenham’s 1-1 away draw with Serie A side Fiorentina falls into that category. Spurs went ahead on Nacer Chadli‘s penalty kick int he 37th minute, but conceded quite an unlucky equalizer in the 59th minute (below video). Regardless, Spurs are in great position to advance with either a scoreless draw, or any outright victory in the second leg. Mauricio Pochettino‘s side has lost at home just three times all season (twice in the PL, once in the League Cup).
Augsburg 0-0 Liverpool
Meanwhile, the PL’s other remaining side, Liverpool, were away to Bundesliga side Augsburg. The positives: Jurgen Klopp‘s Reds kept a second consecutive clean sheet (6-0 over Aston Villa on Sunday) and Daniel Sturridge managed 22 injury-free minutes off the bench. The obvious negative: no away goal on which to hang their hats ahead of the second leg. That said, their ability to score at home should narrowly outweigh their shoddy defensive record as they bid for their place in the round of 16 next Thursday at Anfield.
Borussia Dortmund 2-0 Porto
Dortmund, perhaps favorites to win this year’s Europa League, hold a commanding 2-0 lead after their home leg. Lukasz Piszczek (6th minute) and Marco Reus (71st) scored the goals either side of halftime for Thomas Tuchel’s side which, barring any unforeseen complications during the second leg in Portugal, look to be headed for the next round.
The draw for the round of 16 will be held next Friday, Feb. 26, a day after round of 32 ties are completed.
Elsewhere in the Europa League
Villarreal 1-0 Napoli
Sevilla 3-0 Molde
Valencia 6-0 Rapid Wien
Marseille 0-1 Athletic Bilbao
Shakhtar Donetsk 0-0 Schalke
Sporting CP 0-1 Bayer Leverkusen
Galatasaray 1-1 Lazio
Saint-Etienne 3-2 Basel
Anderlecht 1-0 Olympiacos
Fenerbahce 2-0 Lokomotiv Moscow (Tuesday)
Sion 1-2 Braga
Sparta Prague 1-0 Krasnodar