CBS is the new home for UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, and our coverage of the best European continental club soccer matches continues Thursday with four round of 16 matchups in the Europa League. You can stream every match on CBS All Access. Sign up now and enjoy one month of CBS All Access for free.
The full field of quarterfinalists was determined Thursday as Wolves, Sevilla, Basel and Bayer Leverkusen all advanced. Wolves edged Olympiacos in a close match and the Premier League side was aided by VAR. Sevilla, meanwhile, took down Roma in a one-leg tie. On Wednesday, Manchester United, Shakhtar Donetsk, Copenhagen and Inter Milan advanced past the round of 16 stage.
Here are three takeaways from Thursday's action.
Leverkusen advance, even without offensive firepower
By all accounts and stats, Leverkusen was the superior team in Thursday's Europa League match. But the extent of their superiority was limited due to their lack of presence on the scoresheet. Save for the first 10 minutes or so, Rangers played with absolutely no sense of urgency and seemingly forgot they were down on aggregate midway through. Leverkusen, meanwhile, were playing fast and pressured often. So what came out of it? One goal. It was an important goal, but a team that overmatches its opponent by that much needs to be more clinical than that if it hopes to advance much further in this competition.
Sevilla leaves no doubt in one-off affair
Today's one-off game in Germany featured one side that was ready to take part in a European competition, and one that was overwhelmed at the thought of it. Sevilla pressed high up against their Italian opponents, allowing them to dominate possession and create a whole lot of opportunities at goal. They were able to get two against Roma, but they could have gotten more. Still, one has to wonder if this sort of high-pressure strategy worked because of the long layoff between the last time both teams played, and one team being simply better coached than the other. In other words, is this a strategy that can be consistently employed against teams that have had a week of preparations, and a chance to get their game legs back? We'll have to see against Wolves.
Wolves get VAR-y lucky
VAR went ahead and did what VAR does best by making a ruling that was technically correct, but one that was only possibly because of the ability to microscopically analyze a fast-paced sport. Olympiacos thought they had their equalizer when Youssef El-Arabi set up Mady Camara for a goal in the first half. But upon further review, El-Arabi's left shoulder was found to be just over the toes of an opposing defender so it was overturned. The linesman didn't say anything and neither did the referee on the pitch, but the ability to scrutinize something so closely allowed VAR to determine something so marginal was a "clear and obvious error." Olympiacos threatened in the second half, but never found the equalizer as they crashed out of the competition.
Thursday's Europa League schedule
|ROUND OF 16 MATCHUPS, SCORES||TIME (ET)||MATCH REPLAY||VENUE|
Sevilla 2, Roma 0
Single elimination due to COVID-19 shutdown
Bayer Leverkusen 1, Rangers 0
Bayer Leverkusen advance 4-1 on aggregate
Basel 1, Eintracht Frankfurt 0
Basel advance 4-0 on aggregate
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1, Olympiacos 0
Wolves advance 2-1 on aggregate