Manchester pair bow out of Europe

Updated: March 15, 2012

Manchester pair City and United won’t have the luxury of blaming Europe should their quest for the Premiership fail after both sides exited the competition in the round of 16.

First up were United who lost 2-1, 5-3 on aggregate, to Athletic Bilbao after they were once again out played in the San Mames.

Goals from Fernando Llorente and Oscar de Marcos put Bilbao in control before Wayne Rooney, who scored a brace last week, scored with a fine finish from outside the box with 10 minutes left.

The truth is it could have been more as time and time again United were cut open with Iker Muniain, De Marcos and Llorente all going close with chances.

Llorente opened the scoring on 23 minutes when he scored with a first time volley from a long cross field play.

The killer second goal arrives on 65 minutes when de Marcos got the goal his and the team’s performance deserved turning home a low cross from Iraola.

Meanwhile at the Etihad Stadium, City’s hopes of advancing through to the next round of this year’s Europa League were destroyed tonight despite a magnificent comeback. Trailing 1-0 from the first league and two nil on the night, Roberto Mancini’s side staged a memorable comeback before they eventually crashed out on away goals.

Sporting raced into two nil half time as Matias Fernandez and Ricky van Volfswinkel netted for the Portuguese side.

Then, came the second half to end all second halves as in-form striker Sergio Aguero pulled one back for City on 60 minutes, before a Mario Balotelli penalty made it 2-2.

Aguero put City ahead on the night but they still needed another to progress and it almost came in 95th minute when goal keeper Joe Hart of all people saw his header drift inches wide.

City bow out and what began as a four pronged approach for trophies in January has now been whittled down to one, admittedly the biggest one of all.

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