Rafael Benitez, the Liverpool manager, was denied an emotional return to Valencia in the semi-finals of the Europa League when his former club crashed out last night. Instead it will be the Reds' striker, Fernando Torres, revisiting old friends in the last four after Atletico Madrid prevailed.
The two sides had shared four goals in the first leg in Valencia and Atletico withstood some late pressure at the Vicente Calderon Stadium to go through on away goals. Diego Forlan had gone close to making the tie safe for Atletico in the 75th minute but his shot was tipped onto a post by Valencia goalkeeper Cesar Sanchez. David Villa then hit the bar for the visitors and two David de Gea saves took Atletico through to the last four.
Fulham will face Hamburg in the semi-finals, with the Bundesliga side given added incentive to reach the final by the fact that it will be held in their own HSH Nordbank Arena.
Holding a 2-1 lead from the first leg of their quarter-final against Standard Liège, Hamburg took an early lead at the Stade Maurice Dufrasne through Mladen Petric, the Croatian striker heading in Ze Roberto's deflected cross. Igor De Camargo, Standard's Brazilian-born forward, equalised in the 32nd minute with a neat header from Sebastien Pocognoli's deep free-kick. However, Petric put the German team 4-2 ahead on aggregate three minutes later, scoring with a spectacular overhead kick. In the final minute Paolo Guerrero added a third for 3-1.Reuse content