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Madrid (Spain), March 10 – 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.
Union Berlin clinch late draw with Saint-Gilloise in six-goal thriller
Sven Michel’s last-gasp equaliser gifted Union Berlin a 3-3 draw with Union Saint-Gilloise in the first leg of the UEFA Europa League last 16 here on Thursday.
The Eisernen took the reins from the kick-off on home soil as Sheraldo Becker tested Saint-Gilloise goalkeeper Anthony Morris twice in the early stages.
Union controlled possession and should have opened the scoring with 16 minutes gone but Kevin Behrens couldn’t beat Morris from close range, reports Xinhua.
The visitors from Belgium needed some time to gain a foothold but broke the deadlock with their first attack in the 28th minute when Victor Boniface’s deflected long-range shot left Berlin custodian Frederik Ronnow with no chance.
The hosts were shocked and had to wait until the closing stages of the first half before Josip Juranovic curled a free kick over the wall into the top left corner to level the scores.
Union assumed control after the restart, but Yorbe Vertessen clinically finished off a counterattack, giving Saint-Gilloise a 2-1 lead in the 58th minute.
The hosts restored parity 10 minutes later through Robin Knoche, who scored with a follow-up after his penalty was initially parried by Morris.
It was a short-lived joy for the hosts though, as Vertessen raced through Union’s territory before squaring into the path of Boniface, who made it 3-2 with 72 minutes played.
Union threw all men up front and were rewarded in the dying minutes when Michel tapped home the equalizer.
Elsewhere, Bayer Leverkusen eased past Ferencvaros 2-0 thanks to goals from Kerem Demirbay and Edmond Tapsoba.