English Premier League clubs Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool were both knocked out of the Europa League on Feb. 26 after losing the second legs of their round-of-32 ties. There was some good news for English fans though as fellow Premier League side Everton advanced to the next round. Liverpool managed to win their first leg at home last week when they edged Turkish club Besiktas 1-0 on a late penalty kick, but the home side evened the score in Turkey with a 1-0 victory on Thursday. The two teams couldn’t end the game in 30 minutes of extra time and it went to a penalty shootout.
All five Besiktas players scored on their spot kicks and all four Liverpool shooters were successful. However, when Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren came up to take his kick he hammered the ball high over the net to give Besiktas a 5-4 win. Tolgay Arslan scored the only goal n regulation time in the 73rd minute to tie the series 1-1 on aggregate and send it to extra time. Besiktas almost ended the game in the last minute of regulation time when Demba Ba’s shot hit the crossbar.
Tottenham went crashing out of the tournament with a 2-0 road loss in Florence, Italy to Serie A club Fiorentina. The two sides headed into the winner-take-all match tied 1-1 on aggregate after the first leg a week earlier at White Hart Lane in London. The Italian team secured a berth in the round-of-16 stage with goals by Mario Gomez and Mohamed Salah in the second half. Tottenham had an excellent chance to take the lead in the game when misfiring Spanish striker Roberto Soldado messed up a two-on-one break with teammate Nacer Chadli.
Gomez opened the scoring after 54 minutes when he collected a through pass from Milan Badel. Salah then sealed Spurs fate by doubling the score in the 71st minute when he stole the ball from Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen and deposited it into the back of the net. Spurs only hope for silverware this season is the League Cup and they meet Chelsea on March 1 at Wembley to battle it out in the Final. Liverpool also has one more chance to win a trophy as they’re still alive in the FA Cup competition.
The only Premier League side to advance in the Europa league was struggling Everton after their 3-1 home win over Swiss side Young Boys at Goodison Park. They won the series 7-2 on aggregate after a 4-1 win in Switzerland a week earlier. Sekou Sanogo put Young Boys in the lead, but Romelu Lukaku scored a pair for Everton and Kevin Mirallas chipped in with the third for the 3-1 triumph.
Bet365 now lists Everton at 11/1 to win the Europa League this season.