Apr 13, 2010

Europa League roundup

After the conclusion of the quarter final stage that saw Liverpool, Fulham, Athletico Madrid and Hamburg progress to the next stage of the Europa League, football fans and online betting enthusiasts alike will be looking forward to the prospect of the semi-final games at the end of April. Athletico Madrid will play Liverpool and Hamburg will be up against Fulham. As with the quarters, the remaining 4 clubs will play two games against each other on a home and away basis.

For English football fans the presence of Liverpool and Fulham will help to make up for the disappointment of all English representation in the Champions League having ended at the quarter final stage this year. Although the Europa League has its detractors it has to be said that this competition has produced some exciting football games.

What is more the second leg of the quarter finals certainly produced a few surprises – Fulham beating Wolfsburg in Germany must have been the biggest shock for most people.

For Fulham their success in the competition has certainly given them a boost and raised a few eyebrows among football pundits. Few would have predicted that they could see off the likes of Juventus and Shaktar Donetsk earlier in the competition let alone become the only team apart from Manchester United to win at Wolfsburg this season. They must fancy their chances against Hamburg in the next round and football betting sites are offering odds of 9/2 on them winning the competition.

Liverpool have managed to get their erratic season back on course by overturning a 2-1 first leg deficit to win by four goals to one in a blistering display at Anfield. Two goals from Spanish striker Fernando Torres plus two more from Kuyt and Lucas ended Benfica’s 27 unbeaten match run. The Reds will now play Athletico Madrid in the next round and are now favourites to win the Trophy outright.

The outcome of the second leg of the clash between Hamburg and Standard Liege was a victory for Hamburg who won by three goals to one in Belgium. This ensured that they went through by 5-2 aggregate. Two goals from Mladen Petric and another from Guerrero on the night meant that Hamburg will go on to meet Fulham in the semi finals.

The two away goals that Athletico Madrid scored when they played Valencia in the first leg were to prove invaluable after the second leg tie at the Vicente Calderon ended in a goalless draw. The second leg did not live up to the thrills and spills of the first match between the two sides but Athletico now go through on those away goals.

The semi-final stage of the competition will kick off on the 22nd April when the first leg will be played and the second leg scheduled for a week later. Expect more upsets and shocks as the last four standing go all out for the glory of an appearance in the Final.

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