Monday 18 December 2017

Defeats leave Swansea, Wigan in Europa sweat

Swansea City's Wilfried Bony sits injured on the pitch
Swansea City's Wilfried Bony sits injured on the pitch

Neither Swansea City nor Wigan Athletic got the results they needed to seal a place in the knockout stages of the Europa League.

Requiring just a point to qualify, Swansea were beaten 1-0 at home by a well-organised Valencia side.

Meanwhile, Wigan, who were looking for a win against Belgian side Zulte-Waregem at the DW Stadium to go through, slumped to a 2-1 defeat, despite taking an early lead through Leon Barnett.

Swansea fell behind to Daniel Parejo's 20th-minute strike and then lost striker Wilfried Bony to a worrying hamstring injury. They thought Alvaro Vazquez had levelled just before the break when Diego Alves could not hold Jonjo Shelvey's shot and the Spaniard tapped in, but the flag went up, although replays suggested the two Swansea players were onside.

The Welsh club's night was summed up when Jérémy Mathieu cleared a goalbound effort off the line and Angel Rangel limped off.

Junior Malanda's 88th-minute winner means qualification is now out of Wigan's hands. They will now need to beat Maribor in Slovenia in their final group game next month and hope Zulte lose to Rubin Kaza.

Barnett opened the scoring in the seventh minute and the hosts had no shortage of opportunities to extend their lead. But they could not take any of them and in the 37th minute goalkeeper Lee Nicholls compounded the error by dropping Thorgan Hazard's shot into his own net.

Irish Independent

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