Liverpool, Spurs reach Europa League last 32
English sides Liverpool and Tottenham are through to the
knockout stage of the Europa League after beating Udinese and
Panathinaikos respectively on Thursday.
Steaua Bucharest, Stuttgart and FC Basel claimed the remaining
berths in the last 32 to be played in February.
In Italy, Jordan Henderson scored midway through the first half
to help Liverpool to a 1-0 win, and avenging the 3-2 loss to
Udinese at Anfield in October.
”(Henderson) is a great lad and works hard and has come in over
the last month and made a good contribution to the team,”
Liverpool coach Brendan Rodgers said. ”It was a very good finish
and he was unfortunate not to get a second goal as the keeper made
a wonderful save.”
When Young Boys of Switzerland beat already-qualified Anzhi
Makhachkala of Russa 3-1, Liverpool won Group A. All three teams
finished on 10 points, but Liverpool had the best head-to-head
record, followed by Anzhi.
Stuttgart advanced despite an embarrassing 1-0 defeat at home to
Molde. It was runner-up to Group E winner Steaua Bucharest after
the Romanian side drew 1-1 at Copenhagen. Stuttgart edged
Copenhagen on head-to-head.
Udinese had a couple of decent chances before Liverpool took the
lead in the 23rd minute with its first real opportunity. Luis
Suarez headed on a corner and Suso passed it back for Henderson to
rifle in through a crowd.
Former Liverpool goalkeeper Daniele Padelli pulled off several
fantastic saves – denying Henderson and Suarez – to keep
qualification still in question for Liverpool, which knew it had to
at least match Young Boys’ result.
Udinese’s Giovanni Pasquale was sent off late on for a second
It almost ended badly for Liverpool in stoppage time as Antonio
Di Natale sent a shot skimming over the crossbar with the last kick
of the game.
”It was very close,” Rodgers said. ”Hopefully it is a sign we
have a little bit of luck going our way because maybe a couple of
months back that would have gone in and we would be out of the
In Switzerland, Gonzalo Zarate gave Young Boys the lead in the
38th when his initial shot ricocheted around the area and back to
him to slot home from a tight angle.
Anzhi Makhachkala leveled in first-half stoppage time with a
controversial equalizer. Young Boys called loudly for offside but
Odil Ahmedov appeared to be level as he received the ball, turned
and fired in.
Moreno Costanzo doubled Young Boys’ lead eight minutes after the
break after Anzhi failed to deal with a cross.
Anzhi striker Lacina Traore was sent off 20 minutes from time
for a second bookable offence before Alexander Gonzalez added a
third for the home side in stoppage time.
Lazio finished as Group J winners after a comprehensive 4-1 win
over Maribor. The Italian side progressed with Tottenham, which won
Emmanuel Adebayor gave Spurs a 29th-minute lead as he beat the
offside trap before firing into the bottom right corner. But Zeca
headed Panathinaikos level nine minutes into the second half.
Tottenham restored its lead when Clint Dempsey’s header hit the
underside of the crossbar and went in off Panathinaikos goalkeeper
Jermain Defoe sealed the match.
”When you play with good players they will always create
chances for the forwards to score,” Defoe said. ”It’s been good –
not just me and Ade (Adebayor) – I think everyone played their
part. Hopefully we can keep it going – it was a good victory.”
In the tight Group E, Steaua needed only a point to advance and
was reduced to 10 men at the start of the second half when Cristian
Tanase was sent off for a second yellow card.
Raul Rusescu gave it the lead with a stunning shot from outside
the area which took a slight deflection as it curled into the right
side of the goal.
Copenhagen leveled three minutes from time through Igor
Vetokele, but it was too little too late.
At Stuttgart, Davy Claude Angan ran from inside his own half to
score the only goal in first-half stoppage time for Norway’s
FC Basel went through after a goalless draw at already-qualified
It means Friday’s postponed match between Videoton and Sporting
Lisbon was rendered meaningless. The match was initially delayed
shortly before kickoff as groundstaff struggled to drain the
waterlogged pitch, but with rain still heavy it was decided to
postpone the match.
Elsewhere, competition top-scorer Edinson Cavani scored his
seventh in Napoli’s 3-1 loss at home to PSV Eindhoven. Tim Matavz
netted a hat trick to inflict Napoli’s first home defeat in
European competition in 18 years.