Manchester City and United might be dominating in the Premier League, but neither side has been able to transfer that domestic supremacy into Europe success. And tonight, both sides lost in their Europa League match-ups as Athletic Bilbao stunned Manchester United at Old Trafford while Manchester City lost at Sporting Lisbon.
Old Trafford used to be a fortress for United in Europe, but no more. In the last round Ajax won 2-1 at Old Trafford and tonight Athletic Bilbao were by far the better side as they won 3-2 in the first leg of their last-16 tie.
United actually went ahead in this tie in the 22nd minute through Wayne Rooney, but the always dangerous Fernando Llorente headed Athletic level on the stroke of half-time.
In the second half an excellent finish from Oscar De Marcos put the La Liga side in front in the 72nd minute and then Iker Muniain took advantage of some terrible defending from Rafael to add a third in the 90th minute.
The mountain that United will have to climb in Spain next week, if they hope to progress to the semi-finals, got a little less daunting when Wayne Rooney added his second of the game from the penalty spot in stoppage time.
In Portugal, the Premier League leaders were not faring any better as Manchester City suffered a shock 1-0 defeat at Sporting Lisbon.
Brazilian defender Xandao ensured the Portuguese side would have a lead to defend in the return match with a clever backheeled finish after 51 minutes, after City goalkeeper Joe Hart had brilliantly blocked his first attempt as the Portuguese side controlled most of the last-16 encounter at the Jose Alvalade Stadium.
Hart also made two other good saves, but City did have chances with Gareth Barry and Aleksandar Kolarov going close and Sergio Aguero almost breaking through late on.
Sporting’s wastefulness, particularly early on, will give the Barclays Premier League leaders hope they can still turn the tie around at the Etihad Stadium next week.
Of the two Manchester sides, City are the most likely of the two Premier League sides to still be in the Europa League competition this time next week.