Radamel Falcao’s 25th goal of the season was in vain as holders Atletico Madrid were ousted from the Europa League Thursday night, while a last-gasp goal by Moussa Dembele set Tottenham Hotspur up for a clash with Inter Milan.
Atletico slumped to a shock 2-0 home defeat by Rubin Kazan in Madrid last week and were bundled out 2-1 on aggregate even though Falcao’s 84th-minute strike earned them a 1-0 win in the return match in Russia.
“If we had scored earlier we would have given ourselves more of a chance but even then we still had opportunities to get a second goal,” Colombia striker Falcao told the club website. “We just didn’t have the luck.”
Coach Diego Simeone left a host of his regular starters back in Spain for the last-32 second leg tie at a near-empty Luzhniki Stadium in freezing Moscow, suggesting Atletico were focusing more on maintaining second spot in La Liga.
The only blot on the night for Rubin was the straight red card given to captain Cesar Navas in the 89th minute of a match watched by a crowd of less than 10,000.
Rubin are likely to meet another Spanish club, Levante, in the last 16. The Valencia-based side take a 3-0 lead into their second leg against Olympiakos Piraeus played late last night.
Spurs, winners of the trophy in 1972 and 1984, looked to be heading out on away goals against Olympique Lyon until Dembele struck with a venomous left-foot drive in the 90th minute to secure a 1-1 draw on the night and a 3-2 aggregate triumph.
Maxime Gonalons had put Lyon 1-0 up in the second leg with a deft close-range header following a free kick out on the left from Clement Grenier.
Spurs now play Inter in a mouth-watering rematch of their 2010 Champions League group stage tie.
“We didn’t play that well in the first half,” said Spurs coach Andre Villas-Boas. “In the second half everything changed, the team were strong ... and we got the reward at the end of the day.
“We are really happy to be playing Inter. If we go through after beating Lyon and Inter it will put us in a good position.”
Fredy Guarin scored twice and Marco Benassi was also on target as Inter, winners of the trophy in 1991, 1994 and 1998, triumphed 3-0 at CFR Cluj to breeze past the Romanians 5-0 on aggregate.
Fellow Italians Lazio also went through after first-half goals from Antonio Candreva and Alvaro Gonzalez secured a 2-0 win at home to Borussia Moenchengladbach and a 5-3 victory on aggregate.
Lazio next play VfB Stuttgart after the Germans triumphed 2-0 at Racing Genk to knock out the Belgians 3-1 overall.
A 64th-minute penalty by Shola Ameobi gave Newcastle United a 1-0 win at Metalist Kharkiv following a goalless first leg against the Ukrainians last week.
Ameobi struck after an appalling mix-up in the Metalist defense when Papa Gueye failed to find Oleksandr Goryainov with a back pass and the keeper dived in with his feet to bring down Moussa Sissoko in the box.
Ameobi’s 15th goal in European competition means that only Alan Shearer has scored more for the Geordies.
Swiss club Basle progressed 3-1 on aggregate after drawing 1-1 at Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in a game where both teams had a player sent off in the second half.