EUROPA LEAGUE QUARTER-FINALS FIRST LEG RESULTSSporting (Lisbon) 2-1 Metalist (Kharkiv)
AZ Alkmaar 2-1 Valencia
Schalke 2-4 Athletic (Bilbao)
Atletico (Madrid) 2-1 Hannover
ALL teams except AZ (whom I don't know much about) are favourite teams of mine, the Europa tournament notwithstanding. Therefore it's hard to see some of them not do well (Schalke, especially). But in an interview I watched with Schalke before the match, it seemed that they were a little too confident. When one of the players said he thought they would have no trouble winning, I *facepalmed*. You never, ever
say anything like that before as important a game as a quarter-final. That's what Manchester City did to Sporting Lisbon in the Round of 16 and look what happened to them! Schalke was not at all wise to underestimate the giant-killers Athletic Club Bilbao, who knocked off Manchester United without any problem.
Anyway, I think that anything could happen. Except that I believe Schalke now has no chance against Athletic in Bilbao. Sporting is a very strong team, IMO, but they have to play the next leg in the Ukraine. However, I think they will prevail. Valencia has a good chance back home at the Mestalla and should go through. Athletic should go through. The most up-in-the air should be the Hannover vs Atletico Madrid one, because Atleti has to play in Germany. If they can score an away goal and keep Hannover from scoring two, they will go through. But it could be tough because Hannover is also a very good team. The next leg will be extremely exciting.And now for the picspam...
One of the funniest comes from Sporting vs Metalist:( More here... )