The first leg of this year’s edition of the UEFA Europa League last 32 served up some mouth-watering clashes and some amazing results.
From all the games featuring at least one goal – except the one in CSKA Moscow – to away teams enjoying huge wins, it was a round to remember.
With the way events played out in the first leg, the stage is set for a grand finale in the second leg of these fixtures. With a place in the last 16 at stake and elimination a possibility, all hands (and feet) will be on deck this Thursday as teams look to continue the journey to the final which will take place on the 16th of May, at the Stade de Lyon in France.
As we look forward to the games, how many categories of teams are in the last 32?
The close calls
In this category are the teams who played out a draw in the first leg of the last 32. Salzburg managed to score two goals against Real Sociedad in their 2-2 draw away from home. By the way goals rule, they have the advantage in the encounter already.
They will now welcome Sociedad in the second leg of this encounter. It is a must-win game for Real Sociedad now.
AEK Athens played a 1-1 draw against Dynamo Kiev in the first leg. Now they travel to Ukraine to face Kiev being at a slight disadvantage. The same can be said of Partizan Belgrade who played a one-all draw with Viktoria Plzen at home and will now be playing away from home as the team with the disadvantage.
The complicated ones
In football, anything can happen. What this means is that football, in itself, is complicated enough. But some 1st leg score lines in these fixtures makes the second leg pretty complicated and a bit too dicey to call.
Take for instance the Lokomotiv Moscow vs. Nice game. In the first leg, with Nice at home, the score ended 2-3 in favor of Lokomotiv Moscow. That’s three away goals! With the Russian side playing at home, it’s hard to tell how the second leg will play out.
It’s the same with the Atalanta vs. Borussia Dortmund game.
The heavy away wins
Athletic Bilbao scored three goals in the first leg. Atletico Madrid scored four. RB Leipzig scored 3. AC Milan scored 3. Arsenal scored 3. All these teams scored all these goals away from home.
All of them will now be playing at home in the second leg of the Europa League last-32 fixture. Your guess is as good as ours. They’ve most likely qualified for the next stage of the competition…
Here’s a list of the games to be played:
- Lokomotiv Moscow vs. Nice
- Atletico Madrid vs. FC Copenhagen
- Dynamo Kyiv vs. AEK Athens
- Zenit St. Petersburg vs. Celtic
- RasenBallsport Leipzig vs. Napoli
- Villarreal vs. Lyon
- Viktoria Plzen vs. Partizan Belgrade
- Lazio vs. FC FCSB
- Sporting CP vs. FC Astana
- Arsenal vs. Oestersunds FK
- Braga vs. Marseille
- Atalanta vs. Borussia Dortmund
- AC Milan vs. Ludogorets Razgrad
- Salzburg vs. Real Sociedad
- Athletic Bilbao vs. Spartak Moscow
Atletico Madrid, Lazio, Arsenal, Leipzig, Athletic Bilbao and Zenit will all be playing at home. Do you think all these teams will win at home? Which side do you think will record an away win? Leave us a comment and let us know what you think.