Soccer - Atletico lead powerful cast into Europa League quarters

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Soccer - Atletico lead powerful cast into Europa League quarters

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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) – Atletico Madrid underlined their favourites’ tag as they marched past Lokomotiv Moscow into the Europa League quarter-finals where they were joined by Olympique Marseilles and Lazio on Thursday.

Fernando Torres struck twice for the La Liga side in a 5-1 victory in icy Moscow to seal an 8-1 aggregate victory over Lokomotiv.

Angel Correa had given the Spanish side the lead on the night and although Lokomotiv levelled, Saul Niguez restored their advantage before Torres’s double, the first from the penalty spot, took the game away from the Russians.

Substitute Antoine Griezmann completed the scoring.

Dmitri Payet’s penalty put Marseilles on track for a 2-1 victory at Athletic Bilbao – their first win away to Spanish opposition – to claim a 5-2 aggregate triumph.

It was revenge for Marseilles who were beaten by Bilbao in the round of 32 two years ago.

Lazio looked vulnerable going into the second leg against Dynamo Kiev after being held 2-2 at home but former Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva gave them an early lead with only his third goal in seven seasons.

Kiev would have progressed with a 1-1 draw but they offered little and their hopes were killed off when Stefan de Vrij calmed Lazio’s nerves with a late second goal for the Rome club.

Bundesliga side RB Leipzig also reached the last eight with a 1-1 draw at 2008 UEFA Cup winners Zenit St Petersburg to claim a 3-2 aggregate win. Frenchman Jean-Kevin Augustin gave Leipzig the lead midway through the first half with a crisp shot but Sebastian Driussi levelled on the night for Zenit.

Leipzig could even afford the luxury of Timo Werner’s missed penalty.

Portugal’s Sporting needed an extra-time header from Rodrigo Battaglia to seal a 3-2 aggregate win over Slovakia’s Viktoria Plzen after the hosts had forced the additional period with goals by Marek Bakos. Battaglia’s effort spared the blushes of Bas Dost who missed a penalty for Sporting at the end of normal time.

In later kickoffs, Arsenal were protecting a 2-0 lead against seven-times European champions AC Milan in north London while Borussia Dortmund had it all to do at Red Bull Salzburg after losing the home leg 2-1.

Olympique Lyonnais were hoping to join French rivals Marseille in the draw for the last eight as they hosted CSKA Moscow leading 1-0.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)

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