It was another night to forget for Liverpool fans as their team were crushed by 2-0 at the hands of Zenit St Petersburg at freezing temperatures in Russia. With this defeat in the first league, Liverpool now need to win by 3 goals margin at Anfield in order to secure their passage into the last 16 of the Europa League. The game was equally balanced at 0-0 with both sides having enough chances to score. Luis Suarez came close to scoring for Liverpool but wasn’t able to pounce the ball into back of the net. The deadlock was broken by Brazilian Hulk on the 70th minute mark whereas a horrendous defensive error became a reason for Liverpool to concede 2nd goal. Manager, Brendan Rodgers instead of trying to salvage something from their away trip opted to save the tie and rely on the famous Anfield night atmosphere to spark a comeback.
Chelsea on the other hand recorded an important away win at Sparta Prague with Oscar scoring a peach of a goal just minutes after his introduction into the game in place of Juan Mata. Both teams had chances to score but they were not able to capitalize on their opportunities. Captain, John Terry had earlier suggested his team mates to take Europa League seriously and try their best to win this competition. His sentiments about the competition were backed by the manager, Rafa Benitez who picked a very strong line up to start away at Prague with the likes of Fernando Torres, Frank Lampard, Eden Hazard and Juan Mata all started. With this win, Chelsea have been able to win back to back games after December and only their second clean sheet in 8 games. It is a relatively poor record for a team that has been known for its defensive excellence for many years.
Newcastle United were extremely unlucky against their opponents Metalist at St James Park with Pappis Cisse denied two goals that appeared to be online when replays were shown on the TV. However, the result is not that bad as it appears to be because Magpies have been able to keep a clean sheet which means that any goal they score against Metalist away would mean that their opponents needs to score two times in order to save the tie.
Gareth Bale scored a brace to give a 2-1 to Spurs against Lyon at White Hart Lane. Both goals were scored at end of the each half in added time. Lyon did equalize through Umtiti 10 minutes after the restart but the second goal from Gareth Bale in literally the final kick of the game sealed the result of the first leg in Spurs favor.
With European adventure now over, the attention now gets back to domestic leagues with a lot of important matches coming up over the weekend for the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea as they look to recover from their bad form recently that has certainly increased the pressure on their managers.