Only one English team remains in this year’s Europa League, after Tottenham and Manchester United failed to overturn first leg deficits against Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund respectively.
Louis van Gaal’s side, on a quest to overturn a two-goal deficit from their away defeat at Anfield, nearly opened the scoring in the 19th minute, but Simon Mignolet kept out Jesse Lingard’s powerful close range header, before Philippe Coutinho then stung the palms of David De Gea ten minutes later with a low drive.
Nathaniel Clyne was then found guilty of tripping Anthony Martial in the area in the 31st minute. The France international despatched the resulting spot-kick to give the hosts some hope.
Daniel Sturridge came agonisingly close to squaring the tie five minutes later, but his powerful free-kick left the cross bar shaking.
The defining moment came just before the interval, after Coutinho tricked his way past Guillermo Varela and managed to dink De Gea to give Jürgen Klopp’s side a three-goal cushion.
Marouane Fellaini failed to reduce the arrears when his header from Michael Carrick’s cross was safely dealt with by Mignolet 15 minutes into the second half.
Coutinho, the stand out performer on the night, could not add to his wonderful early goal after his 78th minute strike was tipped over the bar, and the Reds will be in the hat for the quarter final draw on Friday.
Tottenham were the side that had possibly the biggest mountain to climb after suffering a 3-0 away loss, and Borussia Dortmund never really looked in danger as they ran out 2-1 winners at White Hart Lane.
Marco Reus nearly added to his two goals from the first leg in the 14th minute, but hit the side netting following Henrik Mkhitaryan’s cutback.
The tie was soon put beyond doubt however, when the in-form striker Pierre Emerick Aubameyang struck a wonderful 25 yard shot into the top corner of Hugo Lloris’ net after 24 minutes.
The Gabon international could have had a second four minutes later, but Toby Alderweireld got back smartly to make a crucial tackle.
Alderweireld could have then levelled the game, but was unable to generate a significant strike after a floated ball in by Erik Lamela.
Aubameyang added to his two goals already in the tie when he powered the ball past Lloris from close range after being played in by Mkhitaryan with 20 minutes left on the clock.
There was still time for Spurs to add a consolation goal, after Nevan Subotic’s poor back-pass was intercepted by Son, who rounded Roman Weidenfeller, before slotting into an empty net just three minutes later.
The result of the tie was, however, never in doubt, and Dortmund progress to the next stage surely as the competition favourites, winning 5-1 on aggregate.
Aritz Aduriz’s 76th minute goal ended Valencia’s hopes of progressing further in the competition, exiting courtesy of the away goals rule after their tie with Athletic Bilbao finished 2-2 on aggregate. Gary Neville’s men were 2-0 up thanks to strikes from Santi Mina and Aderlan Santos, but Aduriz pounced late on at the Mestallia to seal a quarter-final place.
Sparta Prague raced into the quarter-finals with a thumping 3-0 win away at Lazio. Vice-captain Borek Dockal scored in the tenth minute, followed two minutes later by a strike from midfielder Ladislav Krejci. Striker Lukas Julis put the game beyond doubt before the interval, meaning the Czechs progress 4-1 on aggregate.
Sevilla continued their impressive run in the competition, beating Swiss side Basel 3-0 at home after a 0-0 draw last time out. Kevin Gameiro scored two in a minute after Adil Rami’s 35th minute opener.
Portuguese side Braga also progressed, winning 4-1 at home to Turkish side Fenerbahce in an ill-tempered tie that saw the visitors have three men sent off. Among the scorers were Ahmed Hassan and Rafa Silva, with Mehmet Topal, Alper Potuk and Volkan Sen all seeing red.
Belgian side Anderlecht’s Europa League run came to an end at the hands of Shakhtar Donetsk, whose 1-0 away victory added to their 3-1 advantage after the first leg. Eduardo da Silva was the goalscorer in the 93rd minute.
Villarreal managed to hold on to their 2-0 lead from the home tie, playing out a 0-0 draw in Germany to knock out Bayer Leverkusen.
Player of the Night: Kevin Gameiro (Sevilla)
Team of the Night: Sparta Prague
Goal of the Night: Pierre Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund)
— BT Sport Football (@btsportfootball) March 17, 2016