Getafe will not travel to Milan for their Europa League last-16 first-leg clash with Inter as club president Angel Torres is unwilling to risk his players amid the coronavirus crisis in Italy.

A government decree issued by Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte on Monday put Italy on lockdown, with over 9,000 people becoming infected with COVID-19.

All domestic sporting events have been postponed until April 3, but Thursday's Europa League meeting between Inter and Getafe at San Siro is still due to go ahead behind closed doors.

Getafe chief Torres is refusing to let his team travel to Milan, however, accepting his actions could result in the Madrid-based side forfeiting the opening leg of their round-of-16 tie.

Speaking on the Onda Cero radio show El Transistor, Torres said: "Unless things change, tomorrow [Wednesday] Getafe will not travel to Italy.

"We have asked UEFA to look for an alternative to play in Milan. We do not want to get into the middle of the coronavirus, we have no need.

"We have also asked the [Royal Spanish Football] Federation for help to demand the suspension.

"If we have to lose the tie, we will lose it. I will not be the one to assume any risk. It makes us very emotional, but if it has to be this way, it will be.

"I have been told to ask the Ministry of Public Works for a special permit [to allow travel to Italy], but I will not ask for any permission. I will not go to a place where I do not want to go.

"The people of Inter with whom we have spoken recognise that it is incomprehensible that we have to travel there. I am not going to consent.

"Getafe will not fly. We are not going to go to Italy. Either the game is moved from there, or it is postponed. The most sensible thing would be to postpone it.

"UEFA tells us to ask the government for a special permit [to travel]. I will not do it, I will stick to the laws of my country."

Serie A's title race could be decided by a play-off as the ongoing coronavirus crisis threatens an early conclusion to the 2019-20 football season, the Italian Football Federation has confirmed.

Following a government decree issued on Monday, Italy is on lockdown and all public gatherings are banned until April 3.

This development also means all sporting events in that timeframe have been postponed, throwing Serie A – which had previously been due to continue behind closed doors – into doubt.

Should Serie A resume on April 4, teams will have between 12 and 14 matches to cram in before the end of May, while some sides also have European ties to contend with.

FIGC has a limited amount of time to work with too, given Euro 2020 is set to begin in Rome on June 12, meaning facilities will need to be handed over to UEFA well in advance.

Italy's governing body is considering its options, accepting Serie A could either: finish early; be decided by play-offs; or simply halted and the title would go to no one.

A statement on the FIGC website read: "With reference to the recovery of Serie A matches, taking into account that the other leagues [Serie B, Serie C et cetera] have no international deadlines and therefore a wider margin of programming, the federal president proposed to the Serie A league to take advantage of all the dates available until May 31.

"If the COVID-19 emergency does not allow the conclusion of the championships, president Gabriele Gravina has submitted to the attention of the leagues concerned some hypotheses on which to discuss in the meeting of the Federal Council on 23 March.

"Without any order of priority, a hypothesis could be the non-assignment of the title of Campione of Italy and consequent communication to UEFA of the teams that qualified for the European competitions [Champions League and Europa League]; another would be to refer to the rankings accrued up to the moment of interruption; third and last hypothesis, to play only the play-offs for the title of Campione d'Italia and the play-offs for relegation to Serie B."

As it stands, Juventus are top of Serie A with 63 points – one clear of Lazio. Brescia, SPAL and Lecce occupy the three relegation spots, with the latter tied on 25 points with 17th-placed Genoa.

As of Tuesday, Italy is the most-affected European nation, with 9,172 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

LASK have confirmed the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie with Manchester United will be held behind closed doors.

The decision comes after the Austrian government announced measures aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus.

Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz, minister of social affairs, health care and consumer protection Rudolf Anschober and interior minister Karl Nehammer addressed reporters on Tuesday.

They confirmed all outdoor events with over 500 participants are banned until early April, with the same measures taken for any indoor events with over 100 set to be present.

United are away to LASK in the last 16 on Thursday, with the second leg to be played at Old Trafford the following week.

As of Monday, there were 131 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Austria but no fatalities, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Europa League, Champions League and domestic matches across Europe are to be played without fans in attendance over the coming weeks as nations take measures to deal with COVID-19.

Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte has approved the Italian National Olympic Committee's (CONI) decision to suspend all sporting events in Italy until April 3 after putting the entire country on lockdown following the coronavirus outbreak.

All sport had already been required to take place behind closed doors until April following a previous government decree, but CONI announced new measures on Monday following a significant increase in cases.

Conte confirmed CONI's decision will be implemented, with the prime minister announcing the suspension of Serie A and all sporting events as he extended the restriction of movement to the nation's entire population, having previously only been in place for specific so-called "red zones".

All public gatherings have banned other than for work or emergency purposes, with a total of 9,172 people infected as of Monday.

"There is no more time, the numbers tell us there is a significant increase in the contagion, in intensive care and deaths," Conte said in a news conference.

"Our habits have to change, we must sacrifice something for the good of all of Italy. This is why we will adopt even more stringent measures.

"I will sign the new decree, which can be summed up with the phrase 'I am staying at home'. There are no more red zones, there is just an Italy that is protected.

"We must avoid travel unless for proven work reasons, health reasons or other necessities. We ban large public gatherings.

"We also have more stringent measures in mind for sporting events. Serie A and all sporting tournaments in general are suspended. All the fans must accept that."

It is unclear what this will mean for Champions League and Europa League matches involving Italian teams.

UEFA is yet to postpone any matches, but it did confirm on Monday Roma's upcoming Europa League contest with Sevilla at Stadio Olimpico on March 19 will be played behind closed doors.

Another UEFA competition, Euro 2020, is due to begin in Rome on June 12.

Wolves' Europa League last-16 first-leg tie at Olympiacos will be played behind closed doors, as will Sevilla's clash with Roma, UEFA has confirmed.

The two matches on Thursday are the latest to be impacted by the coronavirus crisis.

The Greek government enforced a temporary suspension of spectators attending sporting events on Sunday, with 73 confirmed cases of the virus in the country as of Monday.

UEFA subsequently affirmed the decision would affect Olympiacos in European competition, and Wolves will refund travelling fans who bought tickets.

Meanwhile, Roma's trip to Sevilla likewise will not allow supporters, following the example of Valencia v Atalanta – a Champions League encounter between Spanish and Italian teams.

The fixture will go ahead in Spain, where there are 999 cases and 16 deaths, although sporting events in Italy have been halted until April 3.

Italy is the European country most heavily affected by the virus, with 7,375 cases and 366 deaths.

A number of Serie A fixtures had been postponed even before Monday's decision to implement a four-week stoppage.

All sporting activity in Italy has been suspended until April 3 by the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) due to the coronavirus spread, with football set to be the most-impacted sport.

The CONI announcement on Monday confirmed a suspension, subject to government ratification, that many had expected.

Serie A and the Coppa Italia had already been heavily affected by postponements and matches being played behind closed doors, with Sunday's Derby d'Italia played in front of an eerily empty stadium.

A government decree had already confirmed there were to be no spectators at any sporting events until April 3, but the latest announcement followed a significant increase in coronavirus cases, with 7,375 Italians having been infected.

Many wider sporting events in Italy had already been postponed, but the suspension is arguably set to have the biggest knock-on effect in football, as it throws the Serie A title race – and relegation tussle – into chaos due to an ever-growing fixture pile-up.

Following Monday's news, here are the biggest clubs' Serie A and Coppa Italia matches set to be affected:

Juventus:

Bologna v Juventus, March 13

Juventus v Lecce, March 21

Juventus v Milan (Coppa Italia semi-final second leg), TBC

Lazio:

Atalanta v Lazio, March 15

Lazio v Fiorentina, March 20

Inter:

Inter v Sassuolo, March 15

Parma v Inter, March 22

Napoli v Inter (Coppa Italia semi-final second leg), TBC

Milan:

Lecce v Milan, March 15

Milan v Roma, March 22

Juventus v Milan (Coppa Italia semi-final second leg), TBC

With no matches set to take place until April 3, a deadline that could feasibly be pushed back even further, teams will resume the Serie A season with between 12 and 14 matches still to play.

With Euro 2020 set to begin on June 12, it leaves just 70 days between the two key dates, though facilities will have to be handed over to UEFA well before the tournament's kick-off.

If Champions League and Europa League matches continue to go ahead as planned, some Italian teams could have many as 20 matches across all competitions to cram into their schedules.

Juventus lead the way in Serie A on 63 points, and look set to be pushed the distance by Lazio. The Rome-based club are just a point shy, while Inter have fallen adrift of the top by nine.

Among the wider sporting events previously postponed through March and early April were: 

CYCLING

Tirreno-Adriatico, March 11-17

Milan-San Remo, March 21

Giro di Sicilia, April 1-4

SKIING

Alpine Skiing World Cup finals, March 18-22

RUGBY UNION

Italy v England, March 14

Coronavirus continues to have a huge impact on the sporting calendar. 

Further measures to prevent the spread of the virus were taken on Monday, affecting a plethora of sports and leagues.

More events were subject to postponements, while the sight of games taking place in empty arenas will be a common one in the coming weeks.

Here we look at the sporting decisions announced on Monday as the world attempts to tackle the outbreak.

 

Italy - All sporting activity in Italy was suspended until April 3 by the country's Olympic Committee, in a decision pending government ratification. In a statement, the committee conceded it does not have jurisdiction over international competitions such as the Champions League and Europa League.

France - Ligue 1 games are now required to be played behind closed doors or with a limit of 1,000 fans until April 15. Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League last-16 second-leg clash with Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday will be contested behind closed doors at the Parc des Princes.

France - The Six Nations finale between France and Ireland, due to take place at the Stade de France on Saturday, is postponed. England's game with Italy was already off, meaning it is unclear when the winner of the competition will be determined. Scotland's game with Wales in Cardiff is on, and Gregor Townsend's men can move into first place with a win. England and France are level on 13 points, with Ireland on nine having seen two games postponed.

United States - The ATP's Indian Wells Masters and WTA's Indian Wells Open were both cancelled following a confirmed case of the virus in Riverside County, California.

United States - According to ESPN, the NBA is to hold a conference call with the 30 team owners and governors to discuss the next steps for how it handles the spread of the virus in the USA, where there have been 213 confirmed cases.

Asia - FIFA confirmed the AFC qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup, which were scheduled to take place in the international windows of March 23-31 and June 1-9, have been postponed.

Switzerland - Basel announced on Monday that the second leg of their Europa League tie with Eintracht Frankfurt, set to be contested on March 19, cannot be played at their St Jakob Park home due to coronavirus-related restrictions. Switzerland's top-flight, the Super League, is suspended until March 23.

Japan - The postponement of the start of the Nippon Professional Baseball regular season was confirmed at a media conference on Monday.

United States - IndyCar is not expecting any impact on its 2020 schedule as a result of the outbreak.

France - Rugby League side Catalans Dragons are waiting for an official decision from the Perpignan prefecture or government regarding Saturday's Super League game with Leeds Rhinos after the country's ban on gatherings of more than 1,000 people.

All sporting activities in Italy have been suspended until April 3, the Italian National Olympic Committee has announced.

The decision, which is subject to government ratification, comes following a meeting organised by CONI president Giovanni Malago in Rome.

All sport in the country had already been required to take place behind closed doors until April 3 as part of a previous government decree as Italy attempts to slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

That led to the strange sight of Sunday's Derby d'Italia between Juventus and Inter being contested without spectators in the stadium.

Monday's decision will further disrupt the season in Serie A and the rest of Italy's domestic football pyramid, though CONI conceded in the announcement that it has no jurisdiction over international competitions such as the Champions League and Europa League.

When contacted by Stats Perform, European football's governing body UEFA said it did not have a comment to make regarding CONI's decision.

Italy's national rugby team has already seen its Six Nations fixtures with Ireland and England postponed due to the spread of the virus.

The most affected nation outside of Asia, Italy has 7,375 confirmed cases of coronavirus, which has led to 366 deaths in the country.

Earlier on Monday, France's minister for sport announced that all Ligue 1 games will be played behind closed doors or see fan numbers restricted to 1,000.

Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League last-16 second-leg tie with Borussia Dortmund will take place behind closed doors, while France's Six Nations match with Ireland at the Stade de France has been postponed.

Odion Ighalo has vowed to seize his opportunity to impress with Manchester United, stating "I will give my blood" to make the most of his time with the club.

Signed on deadline day in January on loan from Shanghai Shenhua until the end of the season, the 30-year-old striker has already made an impact for the Red Devils.

Having appeared as a substitute in Premier League wins over Chelsea and Watford, Ighalo marked his first start for United with his first goal in Thursday's 5-0 defeat of Club Brugge at Old Trafford in the second leg of the Europa League last-32 tie.

The Nigerian is likely to be involved in Sunday's game against Everton, with Marcus Rashford still sidelined with a back injury and Anthony Martial facing a late fitness test on the muscle problem that kept him out of the Brugge game.

Ighalo, who has enjoyed his short time with United so far, has promised to give his all if he is handed another chance in the team.

"Of course. This is what I am working for. This is what I dream of and what I dreamt of when I was a kid. Now it is in my hands, so I have to fight for it. I will give my blood to get it," he told United's website.

"I am still working hard in every training session and doing some extra to make sure I get up to the level. When I'm called upon, I will give my best."

He continued: "It's been great here. The lads are all great guys. It's a happy dressing room. The coach and everyone around the club make me feel at home. I'm really enjoying my time here.

"We have quality players in the team. Martial is on fire, scoring goals. Bruno [Fernandes] is doing well, [Daniel] James too, everybody from the goalkeeper to the top is working really hard. So, I think this is very good for the team. We need to keep the momentum going and keep winning games and fighting in every match, to make sure we get our objectives at the end of the season."

Ighalo, who expects "a tough game" against Everton, got a goal on his Premier League debut for Watford at Goodison Park back in 2015.

"It was 2-2 and I played my first game in the Premier League – and scored a goal! I was happy," he recalled. "If I have the opportunity to go back again there, it will be very good.

"Every game, from now on, is going to be tough for United because it's the second half of the season.

"Some teams are fighting to stay in the league, some are fighting to go to the Champions League and some into Europe. Every game is going to be tough from now on. But this team is a big team. We have what it takes to win games, to win games home and away."

Andre Silva scored twice as Eintracht Frankfurt battled to a 2-2 draw at Salzburg in their delayed Europa League last-32 second leg to progress 6-3 on aggregate.

A storm warning saw the clash in Austria put back until after Friday's round-of-16 draw, in which the winners were paired with Basel. Frankfurt's Bundesliga match against Werder Bremen on Sunday was subsequently postponed.

Eintracht were unable to weather an early deluge of Salzburg pressure, as captain Andreas Ulmer inspired home hope as he thrashed beyond Kevin Trapp into the top-left corner.

Silva nodded a crucial away goal on the half-hour mark, and the hosts – shorn of the talents of January departees Erling Haaland and Takumi Minamino – scarcely looked capable of scoring the three they would require after the break to force extra-time.

They got one through Jerome Onguene's header from a corner with 19 minutes remaining but were then caught on the counter, Silva expertly picking out the top-right corner from 20 yards.

Manchester United will face LASK in the last 16 of the Europa League, while Inter shall meet LaLiga side Getafe.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side, who thrashed Club Brugge 6-1 on aggregate in the last 32, will travel to Austria for the first leg before hosting the Bundesliga leaders.

In terms of UEFA coefficient, the tie will pit the lowest-ranked side left in the competition against the highest-ranked side.

Antonio Conte's Inter face a tough task in the form of Getafe, who knocked out Ajax in the previous round, while Olympiacos - fresh from defeating Arsenal in extra time - tackle another English side in Wolves.

Steven Gerrard's Rangers will take on Bayer Leverkusen, and five-time winners Sevilla play Roma.

The matches will be played across March 12 and March 19.

Europa League last-16 draw in full:

Istanbul Basaksehir v Copenhagen

Olympiacos v Wolves

Rangers v Bayer Leverkusen

Wolfsburg v Shakhtar Donetsk

Inter v Getafe

Sevilla v Roma

Eintracht Frankfurt/Salzburg v Basel

LASK v Manchester United

Odion Ighalo has promised to help Manchester United step into a brighter future after admitting the post-Alex Ferguson problems have left him "angry".

The striker, a deadline-day loan signing from Shanghai Shenhua last month, scored his first goal for the Red Devils on his full debut in Thursday's 5-0 Europa League thrashing of Club Brugge at Old Trafford.

A boyhood United fan, Ighalo described it as a "dream come true" to find the net in front of supporters who have quickly taken to a player signed as emergency cover in attack.

Ighalo has watched United go nearly seven years without winning the Premier League since Ferguson retired in 2013, while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side are alarmingly adrift of rivals Liverpool and Manchester City in this season's title race and facing a battle even to secure Champions League football for next term.

Ighalo has found it difficult to endure United's relative struggles from afar and is now determined to help them return to the top, even if his loan deal, which runs until the end of this season, does not turn into a longer-term arrangement.

"It feels great, at Old Trafford, hearing the fans singing my name. I'm very grateful for this moment. It's a moment I will cherish for the rest of my life," he said after his goal helped secure a 6-1 aggregate win in the last 32.

"The fans see me as one of their own because I came to this team because I want to play and because I supported them since I was young, and I want to do my best to help the team to move forward. They appreciate that and I appreciate them. From the first day I set foot in Manchester, they have been behind me. I promise them I'm going to give my best: win, lose… I don't care about the circumstances. I'll keep giving my best.

"There is transition in life in everything you're doing. It's difficult sometimes when the team is losing games; as a fan, you get angry. Now, in the club, I have to give my best to make sure we are winning and getting results. Some games, it's going to be difficult because other teams are spending more money in the Premier League and in Europe, so it will be more difficult, but this team has young players and, working this way, I think we have a better future."

Ighalo admits he is short of 100 per cent fitness, with his last appearance in China coming on December 6, but he is eager to impress his manager after admiring him as a player.

"I watched him when I was young," Ighalo said. "I watched quite a lot of them: Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Ole, Teddy Sheringham. Playing for him now is great for me. I'm very happy.

"I'm just one of the team. We have to work together. I'm here to contribute.

"I'm getting better. The league is faster, sharper, I need more strength. I'm getting better every day but I'm not 100 per cent fit."

United managing director Richard Arnold boasted in an investor call that the signing of Ighalo was the top trend worldwide on Twitter, overshadowing Brexit and Donald Trump, and Ighalo expects to have received plenty of messages after his display against Brugge.

"I'm happy because I know a lot of supporters on social media were waiting for this moment, for me to get my first goal," he said. "I've not seen my phone yet but I know messages have been coming in, so I will thank everyone. Now, the work starts again. I have to keep pushing."

Ighalo celebrated his goal by paying tribute to his sister, who passed away a little over a month before his move to Old Trafford was finalised.

"I lost my sister in December," he added. "She's a Man United fan. I prayed for this moment but unfortunately she's not here to see me doing that. I promised I'd dedicate it to her if I scored and I'm happy I did that. Wherever she is, she's happy."

Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta acknowledged it will be "very hard" for the Gunners to secure Champions League qualification via the Premier League after crashing out of the Europa League.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's stunning late miss in the final seconds saw Arsenal eliminated by Greek visitors Olympiacos, who sensationally prevailed 2-2 on away goals following Thursday's 2-1 extra-time victory.

Arsenal won the last-32 first-leg 1-0 but extra time was needed after Pape Abou Cisse's restored parity for Olympiacos across two legs at the Emirates Stadium.

Aubameyang looked to have settled the contest with seven minutes remaining in extra time but Youssef El-Arabi's silenced the London crowd before the former remarkably squandered a last-gasp opportunity.

Winning the Europa League would have gained Arsenal access to the Champions League, having not featured in Europe's premier club competition since 2016-17, but the Gunners now face an uphill battle as they sit ninth in the Premier League – seven points adrift of the top four.

"Very hard because looking at the table we're still far from the objectives that we all have, but we've been far all season from it and we have to keep fighting," Arteta, who replaced Unai Emery in December, told reporters post-match when asked about the difficulties of reaching the top four.

"The most important thing now is that the dressing room has to be strong and we have to keep going and react. First of all, I have to convince them about what happened in the game and why they are not through in the tie.

"If they continue to do that, there will be rewards like we have done in the last 10 games that we played."

Arteta added: "I just want to concentrate now on lifting those players and getting back the belief, and convince them that there is still a lot to play for, and move on.

"It's part of this sport that a big disappointment can happen and it happened. We have to learn and react as a team and as a club."

While it was a heartbreaking evening for Arsenal, it was a memorable outing for Pedro Martins and Olympiacos.

"It's a historic night for Olympiacos. We deserved this qualification, not only for these two games against Arsenal but also for our spirited performances in Europe throughout the season regardless of the results," Martins said.

"We were determined, we believed we could qualify and we made it. Tactical intelligence, effectiveness, inner strength, courage… they all weighed in this success."

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes his players demonstrated signs of their ongoing improvement after an emphatic Europa League victory over Club Brugge.

The Red Devils booked their place in the last 16 of the competition with a 5-0 second-leg win over 10-man Brugge at Old Trafford to progress 6-1 on aggregate.

A Fred brace and goals from Bruno Fernandes, Odion Ighalo and Scott McTominay inspired United on Thursday, although Brugge played most of the game with 10 men after Simon Deli was sent off for deliberate handball.

Nevertheless, Solskjaer was pleased to see United head into Friday's draw on the back of a comprehensive victory with several impressive individual displays.

"I think there are loads of players out there who have improved," Solskjaer said in his post-match media conference after United extended their unbeaten run to seven matches across all competitions.

"Scott McTominay is back and I think he’s improved. Fred, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be alive for the next time he was going to score! 

"Fred's had so many attempts. One with his right and one with his left. It’s been an on-going joke between us, of course, but he got those goals and I’m very pleased for him.

"Obviously, we're in a moment now that we rotate a bit, players are getting games. But when you score goals and you play like this, you're going to get more confidence.

"When we got 1-0 and they had a man sent off it helps, but you're still playing against players in and around the box, our imagination there was good."

Solskjaer praised the willingness of Ighalo after the Nigeria striker – on loan from Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua – scored his first goal for United on his full debut.

He added: "I think, as a fellow striker myself, I know important that first goal is and he’s been close a couple of times. 

"You can see he sniffs goals, he wants to be there, where it sometimes hurts. 

"That goal, he was sharp in his head and, as that ball is played over to Juan, he spins and was on the six-yard line when Juan puts it there. That’s a natural striker."

Brugge goalkeeper Simon Mignolet said Deli's sending off made United's task significantly less taxing.

"United deserved to go through," he said. "It was a little easier for them after the red card, but we can have no complaints with the result."

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was left stunned after he missed a golden chance in the final seconds of Arsenal's dramatic Europa League defeat to Olympiacos.

Aubameyang, who had restored parity with a sublime overhead kick earlier in extra-time, sliced wide of a gaping goal moments after Youssef El-Arabi had prodded Olympiacos into a 2-1 lead in the 29th minute of extra-time at Emirates Stadium.

The miss ultimately proved the last action of the match, as Olympiacos – who had cancelled out Arsenal's 1-0 lead from the first leg early in the second half – progressed on away goals from a tie which finished 2-2 on aggregate.

And Aubameyang, who moved level with Jamie Vardy at the top of the Premier League scoring charts with a double against Everton on Sunday, offered no excuses for his error.

"I don't even know. I feel very, very bad," the striker told BT Sport as he attempted to explain the miss. "This can happen. I don't know how I missed this chance.

"I was tired and I had some cramps as well, but it is not an excuse. I have to score this goal, but it can happen."

Aubameyang added on Arsenal's exit from the competition: "What can I say? It's very, very hard, very tough. It was a tough game again.

"I think we missed putting some pace in the game – that cost us a little bit. Then the last minute goal was unlucky for us. That's it.

"We try to keep improving in the league and we'll try to win as many games as possible, and we'll see how many chances we have to qualify [for the Champions League]."

Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta conceded his side created their own issues in Thursday's encounter, but he is now focusing on the next step of rallying the Gunners.

"It hurts a lot. We had a lot of intentions in this competition. It was very important for us," he told BT Sport.

"Emotionally, it's been a very difficult game. We were in complete control. Again we conceded [from] a set-piece and it put the tie in a difficult position.

"It is a massive disappointment. But at the same time, I'm very proud of the players. I think the effort that they put in tonight has been incredible, how patient they are.

"It would have been an incredible lift if we had managed to win the game and go through the tie. We have to swallow that and we have to react as a team. They have my backing, completely, for the way they have played. But it's painful."

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