(Sporting Alert) — English Premier League sides Chelsea and Tottenham need to avoid defeats in the Europa League on Thursday night to progress, but fellow EPL rivals Liverpool have a deficit to overcome.
Another Premier League side in action on Thursday night is Newcastle and they travel to face Metalist Kharkiv all to play for after drawing 0-0 at St James’ Park in the first leg last week.
Liverpool named a strong team last Thursday with the hope of gaining an advantage at Zenit St Petersburg.
However, the EPL side was soundly beaten 2-0 and must improve on the first leg performance at Anfield to avoid crashing out of the competition.
At the same time, Chelsea and Tottenham will take leads in their second encounter, with the Blues favourites to finish off Sparta Prague Stamford Bridge.
Brazilian midfielder Oscar scored a late winner to give Chelsea a 1-0 lead from the first leg result in the Czech capital last week and look like easy take for the second leg.
A Gareth Bale double magic at White Hart Lane gave Tottenham a 2-1 win over Lyon in the first leg, but the EPL side must keep the French team quiet early or risk losing their lead.
Tottenham are also aware that a 1-0 win for Lyon would give them the advantage, following their away goal from the opening leg.
Newcastle, meanwhile, will be looking to beat Metalist Kharkiv on the road after failing to take advantage of the home leg last Thursday.
Besides the EPL sides, team from the Spanish La Liga and Serie A will also be battling for last 16 slots, with the likes of Atlético Madrid, Lazio and Inter Milan all down for action.
UEFA Europa League
12:00 – Rubin – Atletico Madrid
1:00 – Cluj – Inter
1:00 – Metallist – Newcastle
1:00 – Genk – Stuttgart
1:00 – Dnipro – Basel
1:00 – Lazio – Borussia M.
1:00 – Lyon – Tottenham
3:05 – Liverpool – Zenit
3:05 – Hannover – Anzhi
3:05 – Fenerbahce – BATE
3:05 – Olympiakos – Levante
3:05 – Bordeaux – Dynamo K.
3:05 – Benfica – Bayer
3:05 – Steaua – Ajax
3:05 – Chelsea – Sparta Praha
3:05 – Plzen – Napoli