Bundesliga old boys bow out of Europa League | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 11.04.2013
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Sports

Bundesliga old boys bow out of Europa League

German internationals Miroslav Klose and Lewis Holtby tasted quarterfinal defeat on Thursday, along with ex-Freiburg front man Papiss Demba Cisse. All four semifinal berths were filled in one night of Europa League play.

London club Chelsea, Benfica of Lisbon, Istanbul's Fenerbahce and FC Basel will compete in the semifinals of the Europa League, after triumphing in a busy Thursday night of quarterfinal deciders.

Unlike the all German and Spanish Champions League semifinal lineup, four different countries will be represented in the penultimate round of the competition that has become European football's consolation prize.

Rubin Kazan's Ivan Marcano (L) goes for a header with Chelsea's John Terry during their Europa League quarter-final second leg soccer match at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow April 11, 2013. (Photo: Reuters/Grigory Dukor)

Chelsea clung on despite a late wobble

Chelsea were the first club to secure qualification in the earlier match, despite briefly threatening to throw away a comfortable lead over Rubin Kazan on their trip to Russia. A long Fernando Torres lob and some neat interplay between Ramires and goal-scorer Victor Moses put the guests 2-1 up on the night 5-2 ahead over two legs by the 55-minute mark.

Yet Kazan scored a couple more by the 75th minute to put some life back into the closing phase of the tie. With the away goals rule, however, the Russians would have needed two more late goals to turn the tables on aggregate, a hurdle they could not clear.

Benfica bury Newcastle late

Benfica had dashed Bayer Leverkusen's hopes earlier in the competition, and on Thursday they succeeded in eliminating Newcastle United at St James' Park. A 1-1 draw on the night was more than enough after the Portuguese side's 3-1 home win in the first leg.

Former Freiburg goal machine Papiss Demba Cisse did his level best to undo the first leg damage for the "Magpies" on Tyneside, finding the net three times in the course of the game. Cisse's first two goals, one either side of half time, were ruled out for offside. When he finally scored legally, with a close range header on 71 minutes, he put the English hosts in with a chance at 1-0 lead on the night and a 3-2 deficit over both legs.

Despite Newcastle pushing for what would have been the winner, Benfica ultimately struck on the counter in stoppage time; Argentine winger Eduardo Salvio dashed the home fans' hopes of a comeback with seconds left in the game.

Klose's Lazio fall well short

Like Newcastle, Lazio brought a two-goal deficit back to Rome after their unsuccessful travels to Turkey last week. The Italians, twice fined for racist fan behavior this season, had no supporters cheering them on either - they played in an empty stadium on Thursday as a punishment.

A steward stands on the empty tribune during the Europa League quarter-final second leg soccer match between Lazio and Fenerbahce at the Olympic stadium in Rome April 11, 2013. (Photo: REUTERS/Max Rossi)

All of Lazio's fans paid the price for the repeated misdesmeanors of a few on Thursday

Despite the need for goals, German international forward Miroslav Klose was only on the sky blues' bench. He entered the fray early in the second period, with the game still goalless.

It was Lazio's Senad Lulic who gave the Italians hope after an hour, only for to Fenerbahce to score a goal of their own 13 unlucky minutes later. With the score level on the night, and an away goal in the Istanbul club's pocket, Lazio suddenly needed three in 20 minutes. They couldn't find even one.

Basel and Tottenham go the distance

FC Basel and Tottenham Hotspurs drew 2-2 in the opener at White Hart Lane in London, only to rack up an identical score in Switzerland in the return fixture.

Clint Dempsey of Spurs celebrates after scoring the opening goal during UEFA Europa League quarter final second leg match between FC Basel 1893 and Tottenham Hotspur at Stadion St. Jakob-Park on April 11, 2013 in Basel, Switzerland. (Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Dempsey twice gave Spurs hope, but they lost the penalty lottery

US international Clint Dempsey scored both of Spurs' goals while attacker Mohamed Salah and defender Aleksandar Dragovic found the net for Basel.

With moments remaining in the regulation 90 and extra time beckoning, Spurs defender Jan Vertongen was sent off for a professional foul on Basel captain and front-man Marco Streller. Spurs were unable to readjust after losing the Belgian central defender, having already made all three available substitutions.

Understaffed and away from home, ex-Schalke star Lewis Holtby's new club sought to withstand a barrage of extra time pressure to reach a penalty shootout. They succeeded in this goal, only to subsequently fluff their lines in the shootout itself.

Switzerland's backup goalie Yann Sommer, playing in front of national team coach Ottmar Hitzfeld, held Tottenham's very first penalty, denying Tom Huddlestone. The third Spurs spot kick, from striker Emmanuel Adebayor, sailed markedly high and perhaps a few inches wide of the target. Basel, meanwhile, dispatched four spot kicks impeccably against US veteran Brad Friedel to seal the penalty shootout victory 4-1 with a kick to spare.

As with the Champions League, the Europa League semifinal draw will take place on Friday.