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
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.