Valencia, Anderlecht reach Europa League last 32

David Villa missed a penalty then scored a last-minute winner as

Valencia won 2-1 at Genoa to reach the knockout phase of the Europa

League on Thursday.

After Santor Bruno gave the Spanish side the lead in the

final minute of the first half, Hernan Crespo equalized for Genoa

in the 51st.

With Lille beating Slavia Prague 3-1, another goal for the

home side would have sent the Italian side through and put Valencia

out. But Euro 2008 topscorer Villa fired a penalty kick wide in the

86th minute before netting a second for Valencia which finished top

of Group B with Lille second and Genoa third and out of the


On the final day of group games, Anderlecht won 3-1 at

already-qualified Ajax to capture top spot in Group A and a place

in the last 32.

Two strikes in the first 22 minutes by Romelu Lukaku put the

Belgian side in control in Amsterdam and Jonathan Legear added a

third a minute before halftime. Although Urby Emanuelson replied in

the second half for Ajax, the four-time European champion had to be

content with reaching the knockout phase as a group runner-up

because of an inferior head-to-head record with the two teams

finishing level on 11 points.

In a meeting of teams who had already qualified, Hapoel Tel

Aviv beat Hamburg 1-0 with a 23rd-minute goal by Samuel Yeboah to

overtake the German side and finish top of Group C.

FC Twente reached the last 32 as Group H runner-up after a

1-1 draw away to Steaua Bucharest. Moldova’s Sheriff failed to make

it after losing 1-0 at group winner Fenerbahce, which finished

seven points clear.

Already through are group winners Sporting Lisbon, AS Roma,

Galatasaray, Salzburg, Fenerbahce, Benfica, Shakhtar Donetsk, PSV

Eindhoven and Werder Bremen and runners-up Hertha Berlin, Fulham,

Panathinaikos, Villarreal, Everton, FC Brugge, FC Copenhagen and

Athletic Bilbao.

The 24 qualifiers go into Friday’s draw for the first

knockout round along with the eight clubs who are also included as

a consolation for finishing third in their Champions League groups.

The eight include former European champions Juventus,

Liverpool and Marseille. The others are Wolfsburg, Atletico Madrid,

Rubin Kazan, Unirea Urziceni and Standard Liege.