Semifinals 2nd Leg - Road to Bucharest Final
By Joe, bettingexpert.com | Published
Google+: Joe Bexpert
All road leads to Bucharest and some will be hoping for an all Spanish final with either Valencia or Atletico Madrid taking on Bilbao in May. However, only Sporting can ruin this reunion and no doubt they will be doing everything they can to give themselves the chance to lift some silverware this season. The Europa League semi-finals will finally reveal their two finalists.
Valencia vs. Atletico Madrid
(Estadi de Mestalla, 2-4 on agg)
The second leg has to go down with Valencia as a go getter. It’s all or nothing and nothing was on the brink on reality last midweek in the first leg. If it wasn’t for Costa late penalty goal, Valencia could have been facing an even tougher encounter this Thursday. They need at least a two goal win also Atletico scoring less than one goal to go through. If there was one person that can do the job then it is Jonas. He scored last week and also in the weekend 2-0 win over Real Betis. This could be his platform to make a name for himself in the international plan if he can get Valencia into the final. There is only one outcome on Thursday and that is to attack. That is something that Valencia are good at.
One can say that when Atletico Madrid put in the effort, they make it count and that is their attitude in Europe, to be more precise, Europa League. In the first leg, they really put the pedal to the medal with Falcao hitting two goals, while Miranda and Adrian each got one. This set them up very well into pick up their second Europa League final in the last three years. Of course, there is still another 90 minutes to go and leading 4-2 from the first leg, Their weekend performance showed that they are capable to hold at Valenica in the midweek. Their 3-1 home win over Espanyol took them further up the La Liga tables and not far away from their opponent on Thursday.
Boring draws in the La Liga but different mentality when it comes to Europa League, Atletico Madrid exploded in the six goal thriller in the first leg and with Falcao on the side, Valencia will need to watch their back while they attack. Atletico Madrid are likely to go through but Valencia will not go down at the Mestalla without a fight.
Athletic Bilbao vs. Sporting Lisbon
(San Mames, 1-2 on agg)
The home side got what they need last week in Portugal in search for the final place in the Europa League. The away goal from Aurtenetxe ensured that Bilbao did not have a mountain to climb but a narrow one win could just do the trick. Their performance in the weekend showed that they are capable to go through, their 1-0 away win over Racing Santander justify that a repeat in the midweek is on the card. Athletic Bilbao are a difficult side to break down and with a record of eight unbeaten home games. Although, the four draws won’t help them while the four previous wins at San Mames will keep them in this competition. A likely same eleven that was involved in the 2-1 first leg should be given the go ahead.
Sporting Lisbon are one leg in the final but also need to survive another 90 minutes before they can claim a final spot in Bucharest. They had to thank both Insua and Capel in the first leg after going 1-0 down at home, to turn things into their favour at the end of the night. This Portuguese side are on a similar pathway in the league to Bilbao. Both teams are not able to pick up any silverware in the domestic league but looking for their European campaign to salvage their season. This just makes the second leg a lot more crucial for Sporting’s season and they prove to us in their 3-2 away win in their domestic league that they are more than ready to face yet another test.
Still pretty close and only Sporting can avoid an all Spanish final. This is not to say that Bilbao won’t stand a chance, they are certainly in a good position but only a win can help them. Considering that Bilbao have the momentum and Sporting is throwing all their marbles in this competition, a prediction of over 2.5 goals will be the first, while Bilbao looks like a good candidate for the final.
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