AC Milan, Spurs enter UEFA Cup group stage
Manchester, October 3:
AC Milan eased past FC Zurich into the UEFA Cup group stage along with two-time champions Tottenham, who squeezed past Wisla Krakow.
Borussia Dortmund were eliminated by Udinese 4-3 on penalty kicks, but Hamburg, Stuttgart, Schalke and Wolfsburg will form a strong German representation. Four Spanish teams — Sevilla, Valencia, Real Santander and Deportivo La Coruna — also marched into the next phase.
Andriy Shevchenko scored his first goal since returning to Milan — the only one of the night — to secure the seven-time European Cup champion’s passage 4-1 on aggregate. Sampdoria also advanced.
Tottenham eased the pressure on under-fire manager Juande Ramos by completing a 3-1 aggregate win with a 1-1 draw at Wisla and will join Manchester City in the next phase after the Premier League club repeated their 2-1 first-leg victory over Omonia Nicosia.
Aston Villa were held 1-1 by Litex Lovech, but were carried through 4-2 on aggregate. Standard Liege beat Everton 2-1 to take the two-leg series 4-3.
Stuttgart drew 2-2 with Cherno More Varna, but progressed 4-3 past the Bulgaria; Schalke had a 4-1 first-leg advantage over Apoel Nicosia and played a 1-1 draw; Wolfsburg tied Rapid Bucharest 1-1 to oust the Romanians 2-1 on aggregate; and after a 0-0 first leg Hamburg overcame Unirea Valahorum Urziceni 2-0.
Benfica turned around a 3-2 first-leg loss to beat Napoli 2-0, with goals from Jose Antonio Reyes and Nuno Gomes.
Milan didn’t need to exert themnselves to defend their 3-1 lead from the first leg at the San Siro two weeks ago. The goal arrived when Ukraine striker Shevchenko timed his run to beat the offside trap and collect Ronaldinho’s flicked pass before slipping his shot from 12 yards under Zurich goalkeeper Johnny Leoni.
Tottenham’s progression was secured by Arkadiusz Glowacki’s own-goal in the 58th minute. As Gareth Bale swung in a low cross from the left, Campbell was almost clinging to defender Glowacki, forcing the Wisla captain to clip the ball inside the far post.
As the Poles went in search of an equaliser, Gomes rescued Spurs by tipping over from Piotr Brozek in 80th but was beaten by his twin brother three minutes later. Pawel Brozek lobbed the onrushing Brazil goalkeeper, who made amends in the 87th by repelling the striker’s header while on his knees.
Udinese’s Aleksandar Lukovic converted the decisive spot kick after the Italians’ goalkeeper Samir Handanovic blocked shots from Tamas Hajnal and Jakub Blaszczykowski in the shootout.
Hajnal scored at the end of each half as Dortmund evened the aggregate following Udinese’s 2-0 win in the first leg.
Asier del Horno and David Villa scored second-half goals as Valencia rallied for a 2-1 win over CS Maritimo, who trailed 1-0 going into the second leg.
Elano and Shaun Wright-Phillips scored within the first ten minutes of the second half to clinch Man City’s victory over Omonia Nicosia.
Four-time European champions Ajax breezed past Borac 2-0 to advance 6-1 on aggregate. While Sampdoria rallied to beat Kaunas 2-1, the Italians’ passage was never in doubt thanks to its 5-0 victory two weeks ago. Spartak Moscow defended their 1-0 first-leg advantage with a 1-1 draw. Two-time winners Feyenoord went through on away goals, recovering from a 1-0 deficit to beat Kalmar 2-1.