World Football

Winners and Losers from Europa League Last 32 First Leg

Richard MorganContributor IFebruary 21, 2014

Winners and Losers from Europa League Last 32 First Leg

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    Massimo Pinca/Associated Press

    After a night consisting of wonder strikes, red cards, comedy own goals and upsets, there was the usual mix of both winners and losers from the 16 UEFA Europa League last 32 first-leg ties.

    So these are the heroes and villains who we have picked out from Thursday night's action from all across the continent...

More Pain for Misfiring Soldado

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    Tottenham Hotspur's record signing Roberto Soldado endured yet another disappointing night in front of goal as the north London club lost the first leg of their UEFA Europa League round of 32 tie 1-0 at FC Dnipro on Thursday.

    The Spain international, who cost Tottenham £26 million to buy from Valencia last summer, somehow missed the target from just four yards out after good approach work from Paulinho when the tie was still goalless.

    Inevitably, Liverpool target Yevhen Konoplyanka then converted a late penalty to hand the home side a narrow victory, while also increasing Soldado's pain at his earlier miss.

    Roberto Soldado deserves your support - Our out-of-form once-record signing has a pretty great attitude. Robert... http://t.co/4iz7w6OYTq

    — Tottenham News (@spursnewsonly) February 20, 2014

Swans Thwarted by Italian Double Act

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    Whichever goalkeeper Napoli decided to field against Swansea City at the Liberty on Thursday evening, the struggling south Wales outfit were just not able to breach the visitors' defence.

    In the first half it was Rafael Cabral who denied the likes of Wilfried Bony, Wayne Routledge and Angel Rangel, while after half-time on-loan Liverpool keeper Jose Manuel Reina was the star of the show as the Spain international kept out goalbound efforts from both Ashley Williams and Routledge.

    However, in the end Swans player-manager Garry Monk had to settle for a well-earned goalless draw to take with him to Naples for the return leg next week.

    Rafael Cabral: MotM vs Swansea, Rating 7.8, Saves 5, Clearances 6 http://t.co/JzeRBpiX4U #SSCNapoli #UEL

    — WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) February 20, 2014

Sandro OG Inflicts Yet More Home Heartache on Porto

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    Porto left-back Alex Sandro's calamitous own goal 13 minutes from time capped off a miserable night for the Portuguese champions against Eintracht Frankfurt at the Dragao on Thursday.

    The home side marked their demotion to Europe's second-tier competition by throwing away a two-goal lead with less than 20 minutes remaining of their first leg round of 32 tie to only manage a 2-2 draw with the Bundesliga outfit.

    As a result, Paulo Fonseca's team have now failed to win any of their four European ties played in Oporto so far this season.

    Golo! Eintracht! The Germans equalise. Alex Sandro tries to clear the ball on the line, but it l hits the bar and goes into the net. 2-2.

    — Jan Hagen (@PortuBall) February 20, 2014

Captain Fantastic at the Double

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    Jonathan Soriano produced a skipper’s performance as FC Salzburg stunned Ajax 3-0 at the Amsterdam ArenA in the battle of the Austrian and Dutch champions on Thursday night.

    The former Spain Under-21 international grabbed a first-half brace to hand the visitors a stunning 3-0 lead at the break, and while his first just before the quarter-hour mark was simple enough, coming via a penalty, his second strike was truly remarkable.

    Picking up the ball in the centre circle, the 28-year-old striker somehow managed to beat home goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen from fully 50 out to hand the Austrians a sizeable 3-0 lead to take with them into the second leg next Thursday.

    Jonathan Soriano stole the show as @RedBullSalzburg stunned @AFCAjax 3-0 - http://t.co/dAvGP5faQw #UEL pic.twitter.com/k4SU9ZIQla

    — UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) February 20, 2014

Osvaldo Breaks His Bianconeri Duck

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    On-loan Southampton front man Pablo Osvaldo took all of 16 minutes to open his account for Juventus in the first leg of their round of 32 UEFA Europa League tie with Turkish outfit Trabzonspor in Turin on Thursday evening.

    The Italy international was making his first start for the Serie A champions since leaving St Mary's at the end of January, with Antonio Conte's men then putting themselves in the driving seat ahead of the return leg next week by grabbing a second in injury time via Paul Pogba's strike.

    Juventus - Trabzonspor 1-0 HT: Juve's Pablo Osvaldo scored his first EC goal since November 2007 (for Fiorentina at AEK Athinai).

    — Infostrada Sports (@InfostradaLive) February 20, 2014

Anderson Pays the Penalty

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    Lazio midfielder Felipe Anderson was the villain as the Serie A giants surprisingly lost 1-0 to Ludogorets Razgrad at the Stadio Olimpico in the first leg of their round of 32 UEFA Europa League clash on Thursday.

    Lazio head coach Reja unhappy with Felipe Anderson after penalty miss - http://t.co/PJ5LAUdFQ1, all About... http://t.co/ZD0OWmfL78

    — Football 24/7 (@Foetbal247) February 20, 2014

    The Brazil U20 international's second-half penalty miss ensured that the visitors left the Italian capital with a famous victory and a narrow lead to protect when the two sides meet again next Thursday, after a topsy-turvy encounter which saw two red cards and two fluffed spot kicks.

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