Clubs from England, England, of all countries, struggling in a penalty shootout? Not surprising in the least.
Everton needed to reverse a 2-0 deficit heading into their second leg against Fiorentina at Goodison Park today and did so. Both teams had their chances late in normal time and then in extra time to win the tie but couldn’t finish, and Fiorentina won the crapshoot that is PK’s. All bets are off after 120 minutes, no matter who the home team is. Both goalkeepers, Sebastien Frey and Tim Howard, had very good games and each made some crucial saves, but Frey was able to parry Phil Jagielka’s spot kick and Yakubu hit the post. Fiorentina converted all four of their efforts from 12 yards out to escape Liverpool and advance.
Like Everton, Spurs needed to overcome a deficit in Eindhoven as today’s hosts won 1-0 at White Hart Lane in the first leg. Like Everton, Spurs were able to accomplish that. Like Everton, Spurs lost in PK’s, although this shootout was more captivating. Tottenham had a chance to win the game but Jermaine Jenas’ effort was saved by Eindhoven’s goalkeeper, Gomes, and then Pascal Chimbonda’s awful shot allowed the Dutch side to progress on penalties, 6-5.
Dick Advocaat-managed Zenit St. Petersburg continues to impress, coming from 3-1 down in the first leg and winning 2-0 today to advance on the away goals rule over Olympique Marseille.
I’ll have a complete recap of the Round of 16 after the final two games tomorrow, both of which feature another British team — Rangers in Bremen to take on Werder, and Bolton in Lisbon to take on Sporting.