Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Europa League preview: Kiev and Braga poised heading to Portugal

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 13 Apr 2011


Dynamo Kiev travel to Braga on Thursday in the only Europa League quarter-final tie that remains in the balance.

Ukrainian hosts Dynamo led courtesy of a goal from forward Andriy Yarmolenko in the sixth minute of the first leg at the Valeri Lobanovski Stadium.

Defensive midfielder Ognjen Vukojevic levelled for the Portuguese visitors just eight minutes later, meaning there will be everything to play for in the return fixture at the Estadio Axa.

But in a parallel with the same stage of the Champions League, the match looks to be the only one of four games where both teams retain a realistic chance of progressing with 90 minutes remaining.

The winner is more than likely to face Benfica, who hold a three-goal advantage over PSV Eindhoven after beating the Eredivisie side 4-1 in their first leg.

Portuguese team Benfica have their Argentine contingent to thank, after a brace from Eduardo Salvio and one goal each from Pablo Aimar and Javier Saviola – all full internationals with the South American powerhouse – at Lisbon’s Estadio da Luz.

Zakaria Labyad’s 80th-minute away goal gives PSV no more than a slim hope of turning things around at the Philips Stadion.

The other semi-final appears certain to be contested by FC Porto and Villarreal after both teams won their respective quarter-final first legs 5-1.

Newly crowned Liga Sagres champions Porto easily accounted for Russian club Spartak Moscow courtesy of a hat-trick from Colombian forward Radamel Falcao, a Kirill Kombarov own-goal and Silvestre Varela’s strike.

Right-sided wide player Kombarov went some way to making amends by scoring an away goal with 19 minutes to go, but even with that effort, a comeback must be beyond Spartak.

Villarreal were equally dominant at home to the Eredivisie’s FC Twente.

Two goals from Brazilian Nilmar and one each to Carlos Marchena, Borja Valero and Giuseppe Rossi gave the home side an impressive victory at El Madrigal.

As with Spartak and PSV, Marc Janko found the net late on for an away goal, but the Austrian’s effort is unlikely to prove anything more than a consolation for Twente.


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