A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Thursday:
Barcelona will look to produce another big away performance in the Europa League to advance to the quarterfinals. The Spanish team is the most high-profile team in the last 16 and drew 0-0 with Galatasaray in their first leg last week. Barca also drew with Napoli in the home leg in the playoffs after dropping out of the Champions League but pulled off a 4-2 win in Italy to get through. Xavi Hernandez is four months into his job as Barcelona coach and the club’s midfield great is reviving its fortunes, leading the team to four straight wins in the Spanish league — scoring four goals in three of them. Another Spanish team, Sevilla, takes a 1-0 lead into its second leg against West Ham in its quest to win the competition a remarkable seventh time since 2006. Atalanta, Lyon and Rangers are other teams holding leads heading into the second legs.
EUROPA CONFERENCE LEAGUE
Four Dutch teams are involved in the last 16 of inaugural season of Europe’s third-tier competition — but only one holds a first-leg lead. That’s Feyenoord, which is 5-2 ahead against Partizan Belgrade after a brilliant away performance last week. PSV Eindhoven played out a thrilling 4-4 draw with FC Copenhagen while AZ Alkmaar and Vitesse trail by one goal to Bodø/Glimt and Roma, respectively. The Dutch have no other European representation this season, with Ajax eliminated from the Champions League this week. Leicester, the only English team in the last 16, protects a 2-0 lead against Rennes, while Marseille, PAOK and Slavia Prague also hold leads from the first legs.
While Newcastle has pulled clear of the Premier League’s relegation fight, Everton has dropped into it. Two teams heading in opposite directions meet at Goodison Park and it looks to be a bigger match for Everton, which is only out of the bottom three on goal difference — albeit with games in hand. The appointment of Frank Lampard has done little to improve Everton, which has lost its last four league games and is tied for points with third-to-last Watford. Newcastle, meanwhile, had been on an eight-match unbeaten run before conceding a last-minute goal to lose to Chelsea at the weekend. Still, the Saudi-owned northeast club is nine points clear of danger.
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports