Sevilla’s dream of winning three Europa League titles in a row is still alive. Shakhtar Donetsk, Liverpool and Villarreal also gained advantages on the night.
Kevin Gameiro and Éver Banega carved out early chances for Sevilla, and then Iñaki Williams denied a one-on-one by David Soria for Athletic. Vitolo was clean through from a Michael Krohn-Dehli pass, but Iago Herrerín didn’t hit it cleanly.
Aduriz was frustrated hitting the post, but he was rewarded soon after as he stooped to nod in captain Iker Muniain’s inviting centre to give Athletic a 1-0 lead. Xabier Etxeita should’ve made it 2-0 from a Beñat pass.
A mistake by Muniain, saw Banega come in and assist defender Kolodziejczak, who clipped the ball into the net. Athletic lost confidence and with seven minutes to go, Gameiro supplied the incisive pass and there was Iborra to poke home the winner.
Villarreal could make it two Spanish sides in the semi-finals, beating Sparta Prague 2-1. Cédric Bakambu scored one by luck and one by judgement as Villarreal laboured to claim a UEFA Europa League quarter-final advantage against Sparta Praha.
Inside three minutes, Bakambu was rewarded for chasing down David Bičík when the goalkeeper’s attempted clearance cannoned back into the net off the striker’s outstretched leg. Bakambu’s composure returned just after the hour, the forward picking his spot from the edge of the box after Denis Suárez’s lay-off.
Braga were made to rue a series of missed chances as Shakhtar Donetsk gave their hosts a finishing lesson in northern Portugal.
The Ukrainian team spent much of this quarter-final first leg on the back foot but Braga could not capitalise and a sucker-punch in each half leaves their UEFA Europa League ambitions on a knife-edge. There was hope at the last, though, as substitute Wilson Eduardo’s header gave them a lifeline.
In the only draw of the night Liverpool earned a 1-1 score away to Dortmund. Divock Origi pounced on a James Milner pass after 36 minutes. He should’ve made it 2-0 just before the half. Mats Hummels made them pay by scoring a soft equalizer with a header after the interval.
Coutinho got into the action soon after, but home keeper Weidenfeller kept Liverpool out in what could’ve been a damaging second away goal.