Manchester Utd and City both dumped out of Europe

Mar 16, 2012
Bill Mann

Stunner from Wayne Rooney not enough to save United while Joe Hart header nearly rescues City

Athletic Bilbao 2 Manchester United 1 (Aggregate 5-3). "Disappointment" was the word on the lips of Alex Ferguson and Roberto Mancini as they saw their clubs dumped out of the Europa League on a miserable night that leaves one of them facing the prospect of finishing the season without silverware.

A full-strength Manchester United travelled to Spain needing to overturn a 3-2 deficit against Athletic Bilbao but their task became Herculean midway through the first half when Fernando Llorente fired past David de Gea.

Oscar de Marcos scored a second for the Spanish club on 65 minutes and though Wayne Rooney pulled one back for United with a stunning effort late on, it was too little too late for last season's Champions League runners-up.

"I don't think we can complain about the result," said Ferguson who was particularly angry at the manner of Bilbao's first goal. "The disappointment for me is losing such a soft goal... the goal was a bad one for us to lose. You cannot believe an English team can lose a goal like that from a long ball."

The 2-1 defeat for United saw Bilbao ease through to the last eight of the Europa League with a 5-3 aggregate victory, and capped a shocking season in Europe for the Red Devils.

Having failed to progress from the pool stage of the Champions League, United subsequently lost three of their four Europa League clashes, including a 2-1 defeat at home to Ajax. "It's been a disappointing year," admitted Ferguson.

Manchester City launched a stirring second-half comeback against Sporting Lisbon was it still wasn't good enough to take the Sky Blues into the last eight.

A 1-0 defeat in the first leg in Portugal meant City couldn't afford to allow Sporting to score but the visitors netted twice in a first half that left the home crowd stunned. First Matias Fernandez scored with a wonderful free-kick and five minutes before the interval Ricky van Wolfswinkel made it 3-0 on aggregate when he converted a cross from Marat Izmailov.

Mancini's half-time team talk transformed City in the second half and two goals from Sergio Aguero along with a Mario Balotelli penalty leveled the aggregate score to 3-3. But the home side still needed another goal to overturn Sporting's away goal advantage and they nearly got it in stoppage time. City keeper Joe Hart came forward at a corner to fire a powerful header at opposite number Rui Patricio, which the Sporting Lisbon brilliantly turned round his post.

"I'm disappointed and I'm sorry for the supporters because they deserve to go to the next stage," Mancini said afterwards. "We didn't do a good job in the first half and we conceded two goals. The second half changed everything. We scored three goals, almost got a fourth in the last second, but it wasn't enough."

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