BY DAVID GUBALA
The Europa League crown now lies amongst one of sixteen teams left in the competition after a quite decisive round of 32. The two Manchester clubs still remain in the tournament, although they reached the next round in very different manners.
Clubs of three Americans will be partaking in the round of 16, however two of them did not feature in this round because of injuries. Jozy Altidore played 46 minutes to help AZ to a 2-0 aggregate win over Sacha Kljestan and Anderlecht, while Steve Cherundolo and Oguchi Onyewu both saw their teams progress despite them missing today's matches due to injury.
Here is a rundown of the Europa League Round of 32 action:
Manchester City 4-0 FC Porto (Agg. 6-1)
It was a rampant win for Manchester City over visiting side FC Porto. After earning a promising 2-1 victory at Estadio de Dragao in the first leg, City went on to pull off a resounding 4-0 victory in the second leg. Aguero, Dzeko, Silva and Pizarro were the goalscorers in a 6-1 aggregate victory.
Manchester United 1-2 Ajax (Agg: 3-2)
It was an unconvincing result for the Manchester United, without a doubt. The Red Devils survived a late scare when Toby Alderweireld put Ajax on top in the 87th minute. It’ll be Manchester United progressing to the next round with a 3-2 aggregate win where they’ll face Spanish opposition Athletic Bilbao.
Anderlecht 0-1 AZ Alkmaar (Agg: 0-2)
It was the game to watch for fans of the US national team as Sacha Kljestan and Jozy Altidore went head to head. Altidore came on as a subsitute in the 44th minute and contributed accordingly as side managed to come away with a 2-0 aggregate scorline. Plenty of chances for the Anderlecht to score side, but the clinical Dutch side deservedly won.
Club Brugge 0-1 Hannover 96 (Agg: 1-3)
USMNT international Steve Cherundolo’s side won both legs and booked their ticket to the round of 16 where they will face yet another Belgian side – Standard de Liege. Cherundolo did not feature in this game because of an injury.
Sporting Lisbon 1-0 Legia Warszawa (Agg: 3-2)
A late Fernandez free kick was enough to edge past the poles in this second leg. USMNT defender Oguchi Onyewu did not play because of a knee injury he suffered earlier this week.
Other Europa League results:
Valencia 1-0 Stoke City (Agg: 2-0)
Athletic 1-0 Lokomotiv Moskva (Agg: 2-2)
Twente 1-0 Steaua Bucharest (Agg: 2-0)
PAOK 0-3 Udinese (Agg. 0-3)
PSV 4-1 Trabzonspor (6-2)
Standard Liege 0-0 Wisla Krakow (Agg: 1-1)
Besiktas 0-1 Braga (Agg: 2-1)
Schalke 3-1 Plzen (4-2)
Metalist 4-1 Red Bull Salzburg (Agg: 8-1)
Olympiacos 1-0 Rubin Kazan (Agg: 2-0)
Atletico Madrid 1-0 Lazio (Agg: 4-1)
Here is the round of 16 lineup (March 8 & 15):
AZ Alkmaar – Udinese Calcio
Atletico Madrid – Besiktas
FC Metalist – Olympiacos
FC Twente – Schalke 04
Manchester United – Athletic Bilbao
Standard Liege – Hannover 96
Sporting Lisbon – Manchester City
Valencia – PSV Eindhoven