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Europa League: Atletico Madrid’s to lose

Atletico Madrid v FC Copenhagen - UEFA Europa League Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

The second leg matches in the Europa League produced a couple of shocks. Villarreal fans are left wondering how we couldn’t manage a goal against Olympique Lyonnais, yet CSKA Moscow managed two in the space of five minutes, won in Lyon 3-2 and advanced on away goals.

The tie of the round was in London, where AC Milan, already 2-0 down, took a 1-0 lead before a penalty that even the English press derided as “soft” wasan out awarded to the Gunners; Arsenal added a second through a dreadful goalkeeping error, and ran out 3-1 winners on the night.

They look like being the only side that might threaten Atletico Madrid (our next opponents), who waltzed to a 5-1 win against Locomotiv Moscow. Two goals for Fernando Torres, and Antoine Griezmann only came on with a half-hour left but still scored. Filipe Luis was stretchered off with a leg injury, though, which would be a big loss.

Other results: Athletic Bilbao 1-2 Marseille (2-5 on aggregate), Dinamo Kiev 0-2 Lazio (2-4 on aggregate), Zenit 1-1 RB Leipzig (2-3 on aggregate), RB Salzburg 0-0 Borussia Dortmund (2-1 on aggregate) and Viktoria Plzen 2-1 Sporting Lisbon after extra time (2-3 on aggregate), a major loss for anyone hoping to be drawn against them and plan a visit to the numerous beer halls in Plzen!

Realistically, this is a pretty poor group of Europa League quarterfinalists; Atleti have to be favorites, though Arsenal know if they can win it, they get CL football next season--and that’s the only way it’s happening, just like Man Utd last year.

Other than that, I hope the two Red Bull owned-sides are drawn against each other in the next round.