The midweek fixtures this week saw the tight games and crucial stage in all three European competitions, UCL, Europa League and Europa Conference, especially the last two which just completed their playoff stage. The UEFA second and third tier league have drawn the qualified teams against the group leaders in the round of 16 as well.
In the Champions League, Manchester United had to share spoils with Atletico Madrid in Wanda Metropolitano. The home side opened the scoring through Joao Felix. The Portuguese international headed it home at the early first half. They had several decent chances to extend their lead from Renan Lodi and Hector Herrera but neither hit the target. United which were under pressure throughout the match could find the equaliser as the youngster Antony Elanga found the back of the net. Los Rojiblancos attempted to restore their lead through Antoine Griezmann but only rattle the crossbar. The stalemate result also took place in the other two fixtures. Villareal held Juventus in a 1-1 draw and Benfica could only muster a 2-2 draw while hosting Ajax. Only the reigning Champions Chelsea could seal a win in the midweek.
Atletico Madrid vs Manchester United 1-1
Goals: Joao Felix (7); Anthony Elanga (80)
Atletico: Jan Oblak – Jose Gimenez, Stefan Savic, Reinildo - Simo Vrsaljko, Geoffrey Kondogbia, Marcos Llorente, Hector Herrera, Renan Lodi (Thomas Lemar 76) – Joao Felix (Antoine Griezmann 76), Angel Correa
Manchester United: David de Gea – Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw (Alex Telles 67), Victor Lindelof (Aaron Wan Bissaka 66) – Fred, Paul Pogba (Nemanja Matic 66), Marcus Rashford (Anthony Elanga 75), Bruno Fernandes, Jadon Sancho (Jesse Lindgard 82) – Cristiano Ronaldo
Meanwhile, the Europa League and Europa Conference have completed their playoff stage in the midweek. In the second tier competition, Barcelona managed to trash Napoli 4-2 in style on the road. Jordi Alba, Frankie De Jong, Gerard Pique and Pierre Aubameyang netted one winning goal each to secure one place in the round of 16. Il Partenopei only responded through Lorenzo Insigne’s penalty and Matteo Politano’s consolation goal. Their success was unfortunately not followed by the other favourites, Lazio and Borussia Dortmund. They both were eliminated after only snatching a 2-2 draw against FC Porto and Glasgow Rangers respectively. The Catalan side is now touted to be one of the strong candidate to lift the trophy this season alongside the six-time winner Sevilla and the 2004 and 2011 champions, FC Porto. Yet, Xavi’s men have only faced the Turkish side Galatasaray in the round of 16 while Sevilla and Porto will be taking on a tricky opposition, West Ham and Lyon. All games will be played on March 10 for the first leg, except Porto’s and Betis’ fixtures which will be staged one day earlier. The second leg will be held a week later.
In the third tier competition, the Dutch sides seems to be dominating the round of 16 after PSV Eindhoven and Vitesse Arnhem progressed from the playoff stage. They will be joining Feyenoord and AZ Alkmaar which have secured their berth as the group leaders in the preliminary round. Among those four, Vitesse is the most unlucky one since they would have to take on Jose Mourinho’s AS Roma to advance to the quarter final. The matches will be held on March 10 and 17.
Here are the complete draw result of the Europa League and Conference Round of 16:
Europa League 2021/22
Barcelona vs Galatasaray
Real Betis vs Eintracht Frankfurt
Sevilla vs West Ham
FC Porto vs Lyon
Sporting Braga vs Monaco
Atalanta vs Bayer Leverkusen
RB Leipzig vs Spartak Moscow
Glasgow Rangers vs Red Star Belgrade
Europa Conference 2021/22:
Marseille vs FC Basel
PSV Eindhoven vs Copenhagen
Vitesse Arnhem vs AS Roma
Bodo/Glimt vs AZ Alkmaar
Partizan Belgrade vs Feyenoord
Slavia Prague vs LASK Linz
Leicester vs Rennes
PAOK vs Gent