Europa League: Iberian Duo Take Down Manchester United and Manchester City

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Europa League: Iberian Duo Take Down Manchester United and Manchester City
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

At the beginning of Europa League play on Thursday, both Manchester United and Manchester City football clubs faced tough tasks against two Iberian clubs: Atheltico Bilbao and Sporting Lisbon, respectively.

As it turns out, the tasks of winning the first leg of the round of 16 in Europe's secondary club competition were even tougher when both clubs took the pitch.

In Portugal, Manchester City took on their second consecutive Portuguese opponent in the competition after taking down Porto in the round of 32.

City suffered a blow early on after captain Vincent Kompany was taken off the pitch due to injury in the 12th minute.

As for the pace of the game, it took a moment of brilliance by Sporting defender Xandao as he scored in the 51st minute on a very impressive back heel touch off of a free-kick rebound.

For the rest of match at the Estadio Jose Alvalade, the Sky Blues were unable to find the back of the net and head back to Manchester facing a 1-0 deficit going into next Thursday's match at the Etihad Stadium.

Meanwhile, back in Manchester, United were given the shock treatment by Athletic Bilbao at Old Trafford.

After Wayne Rooney put the Red Devils ahead in the 22nd minute, Bilbao struck back with three unanswered goals.

Fernando Llorente scored in the 44th minute for La Liga's fifth place club, and he was followed by a 72nd minute goal from Oscar de Marcos and a late 90th minute goal from Iker Muniain.

Rooney was able to peg a goal back for United late with a penalty in stoppage time, and they still face a big deficit next week in the return leg at the Estadio San Mames, as Bilbao has three away goals in their favor.

The results in Lisbon and Manchester today add to the frustration that English football fans are feeling.

Arsenal was knocked out of the Champions League on Tuesday, and in-crisis Chelsea is down two goals to Napoli ahead of their second leg in the Champions League on Wednesday at Stamford Bridge.

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