Bad night for Spanish clubs in Europa League as they all fail to win

Thumbs up from Wilson Eduardo as he scored a brace and sent Atletico Madrid crashing to a 2-0 defeat
Thumbs up from Wilson Eduardo as he scored a brace and sent Atletico Madrid crashing to a 2-0 defeat

It was a night to forget for the clubs representing La Liga in the Europa League group stages, as Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao both suffered defeats and Levante were held to a draw by FC Twente. 

The current UEFA Europa League champions Atletico Madrid were brought back down to earth with a bang as they fell 2-0 to Academica in Portugal.

A complacent Atletico side had already turned their thoughts ahead to the next round as they lacked the performance needed to progress, meaning the underdog home side could chalk up their first win in group B.

A goal in each half, both scored by Wilson Eduardo, was enough to secure victory for Academica who surprised everyone with the win, given their current 10th position in the Portuguese domestic league.

Madrid are likely to still progress through the group stages as they sit five points ahead of Academica who are now in third place, but their title as group winners is now well and truly at risk after Viktoria Plzen smashed 10-man Hap Tel-Aviv 4-0 and now join the La Liga side on nine points at the top.

Athletic Bilbao got to the final last season where they lost to Atletico Madrid, but it doesn’t look hopeful for them to emulate that this season.

Bilbao lost 3-2 to French side Lyon who are currently flying in the Europa league with 12 points after winning all four of their matches and securing their place in the next round.

Contrastingly, the loss at San Mames leaves Bilbao on just the solitary point, meaning their hopes of Europa League glory will probably have to be put on hold for another season.

Baftimbi Gomis and Yoann Gourcuff both scored in the first half to put the French club firmly in the lead as they looked to be cruising to victory, but Bilbao hit back and pulled level just nine minutes into the second half through Ander Herrera’s close-range strike and a penalty converted by Aritz Aduriz.

But Lyon weathered the storm and scored the decisive goal to make it 3-2. Gueida Fofana worked his way into a good position by the byline and accurately played the ball back for Alexandre Lacazette who hit a superb shot from the edge of the area that sent the net bulging and the fans into wild celebrations.

Bilbao now need to win both of their remaining games and also have to rely on Lyon beating Sparta Prague if they stand any chance of reaching the final 32.

Levante’s fortunes were slightly more favourable as they managed to scrape a draw away to FC Twente and take one step closer to qualification for the next round.

The match was forgettable, finishing 0-0, leaving Levante in second place in Group L with four points, meaning they remain four points clear of third-placed Twente with two games remaining.

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