Europa League Round of 32 – Second Legs – 22 February 2018

Europa League Round of 32 - Second Legs - 22 February 2018
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After astonishing 16 games being played last week and tremendous 50 goals scored in them, the 2nd Leg is coming your way this week. CSKA Moscow already booked their place in the last 16, after winning 1-0 on aggregate against Crvena Zvezda. Alan Dzagoev scored the winner and he and his team will be looking who the next 15 teams are going to join them in the next round.

 

Lokomotiv Moscow – Nice (3-2)

Lokomotiv Moscow is leading the way for the next phase after turning around the 1st leg in France last week. Manuel Fernandes was the hero scoring an astonishing hattrick after Lucien Favre’s side going 2-0 up after just 28 minutes. French team’s star player Mario Balotelli scored 2 goals in the first leg and certainly will be looking to make some impact in the return leg in the Russian’s capital. Racine Coly’s red card means he will miss out on the game, but Nice will be looking to continue their quest in Europe for yet longer after participating in their first European football in the spring for the first time after 1960.

Lokomotiv Moscow – Nice

Prediction: Draw and over 2.5

Lazio – FCSB (0-1)

Romanians FCSB are leading their match against Italian big guns Lazio after winning impressively 1-0 in the first leg. The hero for Steaua was the French striker Harlem Gnohéré scoring the only goal and now the visitors will be looking with optimism in their 2nd leg although they never scored on Italian soil. Lazio played just 3 days before the decisive game-winning 2-0 against Hellas Verona and their hero was once again their talismanic striker Ciro Immobile scoring both goals. The Italians are having a big battle ahead in the League trying to cement their place in the Champions League for the next season by finishing in the Top 4. Lazio, who have qualified for the UEFA Europa League knockout phase in each of their last five participations, have won seven of their last nine European home games (D1 L1), so they will be hoping for a win with a margin which will see them trough.

Lazio – FCSB

Prediction: Milinkovc Savic to score and Lazio to win

Villareal – Lyon (1-3)

The Yellow Submarine is having a tough task overcoming 2 goal deficit after falling to a 3-1 loss against their French opponents. Nabil Fekir and Memphis Depay were the game changers after After a goalless first half in the first leg at the Parc OL, the game sparked into life when Lyon scored twice in four minutes after the interval. This year’s host of the League Europa, Olympique Lyon will be hoping that scoring first will make the Spanish side task impossible. Given the experience of Villareal and the fact that the Spanish club is featuring in a fourth consecutive UEFA Europa League knockout phase, having extended their perfect record of qualifying from the group stage to six out of six – a competition record, a home win would not be a surprise.

Villareal – Lyon

Prediction: Villareal to win

Leipzig – Napoli (3-1)

The Yellow Submarine is having a tough task overcoming 2 goal deficit after falling to a 3-1 loss against their French opponents. Nabil Fekir and Memphis Depay were the game changers after After a goalless first half in the first leg at the Parc OL, the game sparked into life when Lyon scored twice in four minutes after the interval. This year’s host of the League Europa, Olympique Lyon will be hoping that scoring first will make the Spanish side task impossible. Given the experience of Villareal and the fact that the Spanish club is featuring in a fourth consecutive UEFA Europa League knockout phase, having extended their perfect record of qualifying from the group stage to six out of six – a competition record, a home win would not be a surprise.

Leipzig – Napoli

Prediction: Both teams to score

Zenit – Celtic (0-1)

The former Europa League winners Zenit will have to turn their encounter with the Scottish champions after losing their first match in Glasgow 1-0. Celtic’s dominant first-leg display in Glasgow against a Zenit side playing outside their domestic season yielded just one goal – scored 12 minutes from time by midfielder Callum McGregor. It brought the Scottish club their first European home win in the spring for 14 years. The Bhoys’ task will be huge to take something from this game and progress into the next round, because Zenit is very hard to beat in St Petersburg, winning 16 from their last 17 games at home in Europe. Zenit has no major injury issues, unlike their visitors who will be without their main keeper Craig Gordon and their main striking player Leigh Griffiths. Although Zenit is firm favorites, certainly Roberto Mancini and his player will be under a huge amount of pressure knowing that single goal conceded could be crucial.

Zenit – Celtic

Prediction: Zenit to win and over 2.5

Dynamo Kyiv – AEK Athens (1-1)

Undefeated runners-up of Group D behind AC Milan, AEK made it through to the knockout phase with just eight points – the joint-lowest tally of the 24 qualifiers – while Dynamo cruised through to the round of 32 with two games to spare, and scored 15 times in eventually winning Group B by five points. The tie is yet to be decided after both teams failed to gain an advantage in the first leg in Greece, but the Ukrainians’ goal could become crucial. AEK substitute Astrit Ajdarević was the hero for AEK after equalizing the score on 80th-minute and now will be hoping to force himself in the starting line-up for the game in Kyiv knowing that Marko Livaja and Ognjen Vranješ are both suspended for the game. Dynamo is undefeated in their last 6 home games, winning 5 of them.

Dynamo Kyiv – AEK Athens

Prediction: Dynamo to win

Atalanta – Borussia Dortmund (2-3)

Michy Batshuay late winner gave the German side a slight advantage in what proves to be one of the tightest contests of the round. The Italians have 100% home record in their fifth UEFA campaign and will be hoping to extend their run in the tournament. Josip Ilicic scored both goals for Atalanta and he will provide the biggest threat to Dortmund’s defense which will be without the young start Julian Weigl who is sitting out through suspension. It is yet to be seen whether Dortmund’s bigger experience in the latest seasons in Europe will be crucial for them to progress to the next round or Gian Piero Gasperini’s impressive side will go through. Marco Reuss returned after a long injury and could play his part during the game.

Atalanta – Borussia Dortmund

Prediction: both teams to score

AC Milan – Ludogorets Razgrad (3-0)

The Italian giants are in control of their tie against Bulgarian champions winning the first match in Razgrad 3-0. The scoreline probably doesn’t tell the whole story of the game due to good display is shown by Ludogorets before the opening goal of Cutrone just before the half-time. Gennaro Gattuso was not pleased with the performance of their players but was delighted with the margin of their win. Having in mind that a crunch Seria A game against Roma is approaching in the weekend, so the Rossoneri might rotate their starting line-up. Bonucci, Bonaventura, Biglia, and Suso will probably not feature so there will be a chance for Rodriguez and Borrini who both scored coming from the bench. The visitors are keeping good memories when facing Italian opponents in the knock-out phase because they won against Lazio in 2014. Now they are facing an uphill battle and ask could be too big to turn round 3 goal deficit.

AC Milan – Ludogorets Razgrad

Prediction: both teams to score

The full list of games is:

Lokomotiv Moscow – Nice

Atletico Madrid – FC Koebenhavn

Dynamo Kyiv – AEK Athens

Lazio – FC FCSB

RasenBallsport Leipzig – SSC Napoli

Sporting CP – FC Astana

Viktoria Plzen – Partizan Beograd

Villarreal – Lyon

Zenit St. Petersburg – Celtic

AC Milan – Ludogorets Razgrad

Arsenal – Oestersunds FK

Atalanta – Borussia Dortmund

Athletic Bilbao – Spartak Moscow

Braga – Marseille

Salzburg – Real Sociedad

 

After an amazing success rate of our Uefa Europa League Round of 32 from last week we will be hoping for more of the same.

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