By James Cox
Liverpool beaten as Atletico progress.
Liverpool’s hopes of a Europa League final were ended as Atletico Madrid beat them on away goals after extra-time at Anfield.
Photo from fOTOGLIF
Despite winning on the night 2-1 Rafa Benitez’s side were once again punished by former Manchester United striker Diego Forlan, who also scored the only goal of the game in the first-leg in Madrid.
Liverpool started well and took the lead just before half time when Alberto Aquilani finished low in
the corner on the turn from Yossi Benayoun’s cross to level the tie.
The Reds pressed for another goal in the second half without creating any clear-cut chances, while Atletico looked increasingly dangerous on the counter-attack. After 90 minutes with the score 1-1 on aggregate the game went in to extra-time.
Five minutes in to the additional half hour Benayoun latched on to Lucas’s lofted through ball and finished to put Liverpool in the lead overall for the first time. Atletico replied well though and got their invaluable away goal as Forlan finished confidently from Jose Reyes’ cross.
Liverpool searched desperately for a third goal but an all-English final wasn’t to be and Atletico progressed to meet Fulham in Hamburg on the 12th of May.
Fulham’s fairytale continues.
Fulham’s fairytale cup run continued as they beat Hamburg 2-1 at Craven Cottage to progress to the final of the Europa League.
Manager Roy Hodgeson, who said back in December that “Going through in the Europa League isn’t of vital importance and so we won’t even be playing our best team” has now masterminded victories over holders Shaktar Donetsk, favourites Juventus, and two of Germany’s best teams Wolfsburg and Hamburg.
Photo from fOTOGLIF
Fulham once again came from behind to win after Mladen Petric scored a superb 30-yard free kick to give Hamburg the lead and stun the home support.
The away goal meant Fulham had to score twice to progress and with the score still at 1-0 halfway through the second half, this did not look likely.
But Fulham has spent the whole season in this competition defying the odds and when Simon Davies superbly controlled Danny Murphy’s through ball, before beating a man to finish Craven Cottage sensed a winner.
They got just that when Zoltan Gera picked up a loose ball from a corner ten yards out to poke home ten minutes later.
Hamburg searched for an equaliser to send them through but Fulham held strong to set up a final with Atletico who progressed at Liverpool’s expense.