Three Spanish clubs eye Europa League semisApril 4th, 2012 - 7:18 pm ICT by IANS
Madrid, April 4 (IANS) Three Spanish football sides are in Europa League action Thursday night as they look for a place in the semifinals of the competition.
Athletic Club Bilbao are the best placed side to progress following their 4-2 win away to Schalke 04 last week. The result leaves the German team needing to score at least three goals in the San Mames stadium to make progress.
The game will be memorable because it could be the last game for former Real Madrid star Raul Gonzalez.
The veteran forward scored both of Schalke’s goals in the first leg and can expect a good send off from the Athletic fans.
Athletic are without the suspended Ander Iturraspe and Borja Ekiza will step into the side to replace him.
Valencia have a more difficult task as they look to overturn a 2-1 first leg deficit against Dutch side AZ Alkmaar, Xinhua reports.
Valencia look to be running out of steam in the closing weeks of the season and coach Unai Emery is under pressure after a run of three defeats and a draw from his side’ s last four games.
The good news is that striker Roberto Soldado should be back in action for Valencia.
Atletico Madrid meanwhile defend a 2-1 first leg lead when they travel to play Hannover.
Coach Diego Simeone has Juanfran Torres, Gabi Fernandez and Arda Turan all out through suspension and will have to make changes to his usual starting eleven.
Atletico’ s Brazilian midfielder, Diego can expect a hostile reception from the Hannover fans as a result of a reputation for diving that he picked up while playing for Werder Bremen.
Should Atletico and Valencia both progress, they will meet each other in an all-Spanish semi-final, while Athletic will play the winner of the tie between Sporting Lisbon and Metalist Kharkiv.
- Atletico Madrid beat Hannover at Europa quarters - Mar 30, 2012
- Three Spanish sides in Europa League action - Mar 28, 2012
- Atletico Madrid eliminates Hannover from Europa - Apr 06, 2012
- Barca face test away to in-form Atletico - Feb 26, 2012
- Athletic look to progress in Europe - Mar 14, 2012
- Real Madrid extend La Liga lead - Nov 21, 2011
- Spanish sides progress in Europa League - Sep 21, 2012
- Real Madrid a win away from Liga title - May 02, 2012
- Real Madrid face tough match against Valencia - Apr 07, 2012
- Valencia draw Barcelona in Copa del Rey semis first leg - Feb 02, 2012
- Spain coach Del Bosque names Euro squad - May 27, 2012
- Bilbao cruise into final of Copa del Rey - Feb 08, 2012
- Barcelona win easy in La Liga, Real maintain 10-point lead - Feb 20, 2012
- Real Madrid one win away from La Liga title - May 01, 2012
- Liverpool face Benfica, Atletico face Spanish rivals Valencia - Mar 19, 2010
Tags: arda turan, athletic club bilbao, athletic fans, atletico madrid, diego simeone, dutch side, german team, hostile reception, juanfran torres, metalist kharkiv, raul gonzalez, real madrid, roberto soldado, running out of steam, san mames, schalke 04, spanish clubs, spanish football, sporting lisbon, werder bremen