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After two nights of Champions League madness what does the Europa League have in store?

by Rob Dore | April 26, 2012

Valencia (2) v Atletico Madrid (4)
8.05pm

If the recent Champions League semi-final second legs have taught us anything it’s that a tie isn’t over until the ball is launched high in to the Madrid sky. We’re pretty sure the same rules apply in Valencia.

Our number monkeys reckon this tie is all but done having priced Atletico Madrid at 2/7 to qualify for the final from this all La Liga match-up.

However, Valencia won the league clash in the Estadio Mestalla back in September 1-0. With two away goals a 2-0 win at 9/1 would put Valencia through. The home side have won their last two home league games 4-0 and 4-1 so they have the current form to break Atletico hearts. How valuable could Ricardo Costa’s late late goal in the first leg prove?

“We need the support of our fans, and Mestalla will drive us on and help show our virtues. The management of emotions is important – it is a game for men. We must not appear anxious. We have a chance as the team has demonstrated its ability to play good football and get comprehensive results,” was the positive pre-match message from Valencia manager Unai Emery.

Athletic Bilbao (1) v Sporting Lisbon (2)
8.05pm

This game is even more delicately poised. Sporting Lisbon have a one goal lead but Athletic Bilbao have the away goal. A classic European conundrum.

Bilbao dominated possession in the first leg in Portugal. Having taken the lead through defender Jon Aurtenetxe, they looked all set to return home with a one goal lead.

Then Emiliano Insua scored and started the comeback. Yes the very same Emiliano Insua who plodded up and down Liverpool’s left flank with little effect up until two seasons ago. Portuguese fotball clearly agrees with the Argentine defender and he’s bordering on prolific in this competition with four goals in ten Europa League appearances. At 17/2 to score any time tonight he has to be worth a punt.

The home side have won three of their last five games 1-0, a scoreline which may not thrill the neutral viewers but it’d be enough to put them through on away goals. A 1-0 Bilbao win is 6/1.

Sporting Lisbon are 5/1 to win in 90 minutes but a far shorter 11/10 to progress. Which might suggest that the men who make the odds see this one being a draw at 3/1.

If the Champions League is anything to go by then all you can do is place your bets, sit back and hope the gods of football smile on you tonight.

Europa League Betting

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