Spanish clubs all advance in Europa League
All three Spanish La Liga clubs still involved in the Europa League on Thursday advanced to the round of the last 16, dpa reported.
In Valencia Brazilian international striker Jonas scored the only goal for his side as Valenica beat Stoke City 1-0 in their return leg in the round of 32 to advance 2-0 on aggregate, while Atletico Madrid secured a 1-0 victory against Lazio Rome, having already won the first leg 3-1.
Also through on the night were Atletico Bilbao, who won 1-0 against Lokomotive Moscow to advance on the away goal rule after the tie finished 2-2 on aggregate. The Spanish side had Fernando Amorebieta sent off on the hour, but still scored shortly afterwards through Iker Muniain and then held onto the lead.
Also bringing three clubs through to the next round was the Dutch league, with AZ Alkmaar, FC Twente and PSV Eindhoven going through with victories.
Maarten Martens scored the only goal of the game for Alkmaar against Anderlecht to see his side through 2-0, while Twente ended Steaua Bucharest's dreams of a home-final with a 1-0 victory for a 2-0 aggregate victory.
Nacer Chadli scored the only goal of the game in Twente.
PSV Eindhoven had a comfortable 4-1 win on the night against Turkish club Trabzonspor, who were reduced to 10 men just before the break after goalkeeper Tolga Zengin was sent off. The Dutch club advanced 6-2 on aggregate.
The fourth Dutch club in action on the night, Ajax Amsterdam, stunned Manchester United 2-1 in England, but still went out after having lost the home leg 2-0.
Javier Hernandez opened the scoring for the Reds in the first half, but Aras Oezbiliz equalized shortly afterwards. Toby Alderweireld scored the winner for his side with three minutes to go, but it was too little, too late for the Dutch visitors as they went out 3-2 on aggregate.
United join their cross-town rivals City in the next round after Roberto Mancini's side knocked out the cup holders Porto with an emphatic 6-1 overall victory after a 4-0 win on Wednesday.
Braga, who were beaten by Porto in the final in Dublin last year, won 1-0 in Besiktas, but went out 2-1 on aggregate after losing 2-0 at home.
There was some joy for Portugal on the night though as Sporting Lisbon beat Legia Warsaw 1-0 to go through 3-2 on aggregate.
Other teams through on the night were high-flying Serie A team Udinese, who were held to a goalless draw by PAOK Saloniki in the first leg, but turned things around in Greece with a 3-0 victory and Standard Liege, who qualified for the next round after a goalless draw against a 10-man Wisla Krakow side, going through on the away goal rule.
Olympiakos Piraeus secured a 1-0 victory against Rubin Kazan, having already won the first game by the same score, while Metalist Kharkiv again scored four goals against RB Salzburg, winning 4-1 on the night for an 8-1 aggregate victory.
Bundesliga club Hanover 96 won 1-0 in Brugge for a 3-1 aggregate victory, with new Senegalese signing Mame Diouf being the matchwinner for the German side in Belgium.
Diouf, who joined the Bundesliga side on a two-year contract from Manchester United during the winter break, said that they had known before the game that it would not be easy.
"Brugge had to come at us and we had to soak up the pressure. I am glad that we managed to win the game and go through to the next round.
"I am very happy at the new club and hopefully we can do well in the Europa League and the Bundesliga," the 24-year-old said.