The knockout stage play-off round of the UEFA Europa League kicked off Thursday with both FC Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund struggling, though the Spanish club was not nearly as bad as the German side. Barca wasted chance after chance, especially from Ferran Torres, to draw Napoli 1-1 in the first leg at the Camp Nou, while Dortmund were left stunned at home, falling 4-2 to Scottish club Rangers.
In other action, Atalanta got a come-from-behind vctory, while RB Leipzig and Real Sociedad drew 2-2.
Here’s what to know from Thursday’s action. You can catch the second legs of these matchups on Feb. 24 on Paramount+.
Europa League scoreboard
Rangers 4, Dortmund 2
Real Betis 3, Zenit 2
Barcelona 1, Napoli 1
Sherrif 2, Braga 0
RB Leipzig 2, Real Sociedad 2
Porto 2, Lazio 1
Atalanta 2, Olympiacos 1
Sevilla 3, Dinamo Zagreb 1
Barca fail to deliver at home
What a wild match for Barca, one that they let slip. The 1-1 draw saw Ferran Torres score but also only put one of his nine shots on frame, missing a clear chance in the final moments. The visitors took the lead while Barca were attacking, with Piotr Zielinski finishing his own rebound in the first half.
After the match, Torres was visibly upset.
The result, especially with no more away goals rule, means the winner next week in Naples goes through. If the match finishes level, extra time will be needed.
Rangers roll at Dortmund
This was the shock of the day. Rangers, with Alfredo Morelos scoring, dominated Dortmund for a 4-2 win to put them a step closer to the round of 16. Rangers had the four goals off 2.32 xG and have set themselves up nicely to advance.
However, it must be noted that they faced a Dortmund team without superstar striker Erling Haaland, who missed out due to injury. If Haaland plays in the second leg, don’t be surprised if the German club pulls off the comeback. But on this day, the boys from Glasgow were the superior, more efficient squad.
Atalanta come back to put a foot into round of 16
After Champions League group stage disappointment, Atalanta looked destined for more after going down just after the first 15 minutes against Olympiacos. But it was Berat Djimsiti who scored two goals in three second-half minutes to turn the tie on its head. Take a look:
Atalanta finished the night with 17 shots but just an xG of 1.15, yet they conceded allowing an xG of just 0.24 off a wonderful strike from Francisco Soares.
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