Ajax, Feyenoord, Parma advance
Hamburg, September 29:
Former champions Ajax, Feyenoord, Parma and Sevilla advanced to the group stage of the UEFA Cup on Thursday when the 80-club field was cut in half after a two-leg first round. Ajax beat IK Start of Norway 4-0 two goals from Markus Rosenberg and one each from Zdenek Grygera and Ryan Babelwith, and advanced on a 9-2 aggregate score.
Fellow Dutch club Feyenoord — the 2002 UEFA Cup champion — needed away goals to advance after a scoreless draw at home and a 2-2 aggregate score with Lokomotiv Sofia of Bulgaria. Defending champion Sevilla beat Greece’s Atromitos 4-0 to advance 6-1 on aggregate. Vasilios Apostolopoulos and Dimitrios Ioannoy each scored an own-goal in the first 10 minutes, with Luis Fabiano and Kepa Blanco adding the others.
Former champions Tottenham (1972 and 1984), Eintracht Frankfurt (1980) and Bayer Leverkusen (1988) also went into Tuesday’s draw for the group stage, which starts on October 19. Also advancing were English clubs Newcastle and Blackburn, Scotland’s Rangers, Spain’s Celta Vigo, Osasuna and Espanyol and French Paris St Germain, Auxerre and Lens.
Some of the big European clubs didn’t make it however, including 1997 champ Schalke of Germany and French Marseille. Schalke lost 3-1 at French club Nancy to be eliminated 3-2 on aggregate. Schalke’s Germany striker Gerald Asamoah suffered a broken left leg in a tackle by Papa Diakhate.
Marseille lost 4-2 at Mlada Boleslav, allowing an injury time goal by Tomas Sedlacek to ensure the little known Czech club eliminated the 1993 Champions League winner 4-3 on aggregate. Two-time winner Parma beat Russia’s Rubin Kazan 1-0 on Daniele Paponi’s first career goal and advanced on 2-0 aggregate.
Fellow Italian club Palermo advanced 4-0 on aggregate over West Ham after a 3-0 win in the Sicilian capital. Brazilian midfielder Fabio Simplicio scored twice, with David Di Michele adding the other. Twenty-one fans were arrested and 17 injured following a massive brawl between West Ham and Palermo supporters in the Sicilian capital late Wednesday.
For Hapoel Tel-Aviv, its 3-1 win over Chornomorets of Ukraine marked the first match to be hosted in Israel since UEFA lifted a ban on September 15. Israeli clubs and national team had played their home games outside the country after August 7 because of clashes between Israel military forces and Islamic militia Hezbollah along the Lebanese border. Hapoel advanced 4-1 on aggregate.