Middlesbrough in UEFA Cup semis

London, April 7:

Middlesbrough advanced to the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup on Thursday by scoring four straight goals, including a 90th-minute decider. Draws were enough for Steaua Bucharest, Sevilla and Schalke to get through.

Massimo Maccarone scored in the 90th minute to give hosts Middlesbrough a 4-1 win over FC Basel in the second leg of the quarter-finals and a 4-3 aggregate victory.

Steaua, the 1986 European Cup champion, advanced on away goals after holding crosstown rival Rapid Bucharest to a 0-0 draw. The two teams drew 1-1 last week in the first leg.

Sevilla rallied to draw 1-1 with Zenit St Petersburg, giving the Spanish team a 5-2 win on aggregate and putting it into the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup for the first time. Schalke also drew 1-1, but beat Levski Sofia 4-2 on aggregate. In the semi-finals, Sevilla will face Schalke, while Steaua takes on Middlesbrough.

Maccarone beat Pascal Zuberbuehler in the final minute of regulation time after the Basel goalkeeper blocked Fabio Rochemback’s initial shot. Eduardo gave Basel the lead in the 23rd minute, making the aggregate score 3-0 and putting pressure on the English team, which needed to score four goals to advance.

Mark Viduka started things by equalising in the 33rd on a Aiyegbeni Yakubu pass. The Australia international added another in the 57th, again taking a pass from Yakubu and beating Zuberbuehler. In the 73rd minute, Basel was reduced to 10 men when defender Daniel Majstorovic was sent off with his second yellow card.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink then made it 3-1 in the 79th by sending a curling shot from the edge of the penalty area over Zuberbuehler and into the top corner.

Rapid nearly took the lead in its match at Steaua in the 32nd minute, but Mugurel Buga missed from close range. Dorel Goian had Steaua’s best chance in the 48th when he headed wide. Rapid had another late chance to win the match and advance, but substitute Emil Dica had his shot deflected wide by a Steaua defender.

The match in Bucharest was played amid tight security, with the city dispatching more than 3,000 police to prevent violence between rival fans, which have a bitter history. No serious incidents were reported, unlike in recent league matches when fans threw stones and chairs on the field.

Blanco Kepa scored Sevilla’s equaliser in the 66th minute at Zenit, beating goalkeeper Viacheslav Malafeev one-on-one on a wet field at Petrovsky stadium. Hyun Young-min had given Zenit the lead in the 50th in his UEFA Cup debut.

One minute after Sevilla scored, the team was reduced to 10 men when Kepa was red-carded for arguing with the referee. Zenit’s advantage lasted only one minute, however, as defender Ivica Krizanac was sent off for tackling Vicenzo Maresca in the 68th.

Levski took the lead at Schalke in the 25th minute when Emil Angelov scored from close range off a pass from Valeri Domovchiyski.

Lincoln equalised for the hosts in the 58th after Levski’s defence failed to clear a throw-in by Levan Kobiashvili.

Schalke, the only German club still in a European competition, won the UEFA Cup in 1997.