Europa League Roundup, Feb. 25

BY foxsports • February 25, 2010

Former European champions Liverpool, Hamburg, Marseille and Juventus all advanced to the next round of the Europa League on Thursday.

Liverpool trailed at Unirea Urziceni and was facing the prospect of more embarrassment on top of its early elimination from the Champions League, but Javier Mascherano, Ryan Babel and Steven Gerrard scored to give the English club a 3-1 victory.

Liverpool advanced 4-1 on aggregate and will meet Lille in next month's round of 16.

Hamburg lost 3-2 at PSV Eindhoven but tied 3-3 on aggregate and advanced on away goals and Marseille beat FC Copenhagen 3-1 to complete a 6-2 aggregate win.

Juventus held four-time European champion Ajax to a 0-0 draw in Turin and went through 2-1 over the two legs.

Liverpool trailed in Bucharest when Bruno Fernandez headed in Razvan Paduretu's 19th-minute corner, but Argentina midfielder Mascherano struck back 11 minutes later with a fierce shot from about 20 meters (yards).

Babel then put Liverpool ahead in the 40th with a close-range finish and captain Gerrard struck with a low shot in the 57th.

"We showed character," Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez said. "I think once we scored a goal, everything was easier and the second and third goals made things better."

Although Yossi Benayoun continued his return from injury to set up Gerrard for his goal, Liverpool's injury problems continued with central defender Martin Skrtel carried off in the second half.

"At this moment we don't know how serious it is but it could be a broken foot," Benitez said.

Hamburg advanced courtesy of its two away goals after last week's 1-0 home win.

PSV led 2-0 through Ola Toivonen and Balazs Dzsudzsak, but Mladen Petric got a goal back three minutes after the break and Piotr Trochowski, who provided the pass for Petric's strike, drew Hamburg level with a 79th-minute penalty.

Koevermans scored PSV's third in the 90th, but it made no difference to the overall picture.

But Hamburg will be without Guy Demel in the next round after he was sent off in the 74th for a second yellow card.

Hatem Ben Arfa put Marseille ahead before Bakari Kone struck two second-half goals to make Jose Almeida's late effort for Copenhagen worthless, while Juventus needed only to prevent Ajax scoring to progress to a meeting with English club Fulham.

Fulham is in its first ever season of European competition but advanced past Shakhtar Donetsk, the last team to win the UEFA Cup before it was rebranded the Europa League for this season, with a 1-1 draw.

Defender Brede Hangeland's headed goal gave Fulham the lead in the first half against the run of play. Shakhtar equalized through Jadson in the second half but couldn't break down a stubborn Fulham defense a second time.

"It's yet another marvelous night along the way and great credit to the team," Fulham manager Roy Hodgson said. "I really enjoyed the night and the performance but I still hope there'll be some more good nights to come."

Fulham will visit Juventus on March 11 before hosting the Italian giant in west London a week later.

Fulham's English rival Everton was eliminated by Sporting Lisbon, which overturned a 2-1 first-leg deficit with a 3-0 victory in Portugal.

French striker Djibril Cisse scored another two goals to give Panathinaikos a second straight 3-2 win over AS Roma and a remarkable 6-4 aggregate win, while Anderlecht beat Athletic Bilbao 4-0 to go through.

Villarreal was knocked out after a 4-1 loss at Wolfsburg, leaving Atletico Madrid and Valencia to prolong Spain's interest in the tournament.

Atletico won 2-1 at Galatasaray to advance 3-2, while Valencia needed extra time to beat FC Brugge 3-0. The teams were tied 1-1 on aggregate before Valencia winger Pablo Hernandez scored twice in added time for a 3-1 aggregate win.

Werder Bremen, Standard Liege and Rubin Kazan were the other teams to advance.

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