NYON: Jurgen Klopp hailed Philippe Coutinho’s moment of magic but also picked out his centre-backs for praise as Liverpool saw off rivals Manchester United in the Europa League.
United, trailing 2-0 from last week’s first leg, gave themselves hope through Anthony Martial’s penalty but Coutinho struck with the last kick of the first half, brilliantly deceiving goalkeeper David de Gea at his near post, as Liverpool reached the quarter-finals.
Klopp said: “They tried to play really offensively but with our chances it was a little bit Liverpool against De Gea.The end of the first half, it was not the biggest chance we had but the skill of Coutinho was amazing, the game changed but it was intense until the end. It was not too easy so I’m pretty proud of the boys.”
Opposite number Louis van Gaal was frustrated to have conceded so close to the interval. He said: “It’s very disappointing because we created enough chances.
“We know when we are attacking in this way that Liverpool also have counter chances. The way we conceded that goal, in the last seconds of the first half… you could have built up the second half so beautifully but at half-time they were also disappointed.”
UEFA has opened disciplinary action against both clubs for crowd incidents.
Tottenham were left to focus fully on their Premier League title challenge as Mauricio Pochettino’s side bowed out after a 2-1 home defeat to Borussia Dortmund.
Spurs needed a minor miracle to retrieve a 3-0 deficit from the first leg in Germany but Pochettino named Harry Kane as a substitute and instead it was Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s double that secured Dortmund a 5-1 win on aggregate. Son Heung-min added a late consolation for the hosts.
It is the third consecutive year Tottenham have failed to reach the quarter-finals of Europe’s second-tier tournament and their hopes of lifting silverware this season now rest entirely on the league, where they host struggling Bournemouth on Sunday.
Europa League holders Sevilla coasted into the quarter-finals with a 3-0 win over Basel at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.
The Spanish side, who had left Switzerland with a goalless draw in the first leg, swept into a 35th-minute lead through a header by defender Adil Rami.
Kevin Gameiro tapped in a second two minutes before the break and quickly made Basel pay for more lax defending when scoring at third goal for the hosts just before half-time which ended the tie as a contest.
Braga turned the tables on eight-man Fenerbahce with a 4-1 victory.
Trailing 1-0 from the first leg, Braga faced an uphill task when Alper Potuk cancelled out Ahmed Hassan’s opener just before half-time.
But the 67th-minute dismissal of Mehmet Topal proved to be the turning point.
Josue netted the 69th-minute penalty and five minutes later Nikola Stojiljkovic put the Portuguese side ahead in the tie for the first time and Rafa Silva added a fine fourth goal.
There was still time for Fenebahce to implode as Potuk and Volkan Sen also both saw red.
Eduardo’s stoppage-time goal earned Shakhtar Donetsk a 1-0 second-leg win to round off a comfortable progression past Anderlecht, 4-1 on aggregate.
Both sides finished with 10 men as Kucher for Shakhtar and Kara Mbodji for Anderlecht were sent off within two minutes of each other as tempers flared in the closing stages.
In Thursday’s early evening kick-offs, Sparta Prague produced a brilliant first-half performance to thrash Lazio 3-0 to book their place in the last eight and went through 4-1 winners on aggregate.
Elsewhere, Gary Neville’s Valencia were knocked out on away goals by fellow Primera Division side Athletic Bilbao, despite a 2-1 victory on the night.
Villarreal also reached the last eight after a goalless draw at Bayer Leverkusen secured a 2-0 win on aggregate