Spurs outclass Monaco; Reds advance to knockout stage

Paris, December 11

Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur both advanced to the knockout stages of the Europa League as winners of their groups on Thursday as the likes of Fiorentina, Marseille and Anderlecht also progressed to the last 32.

However, the two English representatives who will be joined in the draw for next round by Man United after their Champions League exit concluded their group stage campaigns in contrasting fashion.

Enjoying an excellent campaign in the Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur clinched top spot in Group J by outclassing Monaco with a 4-1 win at White Hart Lane. Erik Lamela was the hero for Spurs, the Argentine netting a first-half hat-trick to put Mauricio Pochettino’s side out of sight before Stephan El Shaarawy got one back for the visitors.

Tom Carroll added the fourth goal for Tottenham late on, and they go through with Anderlecht, who beat Qarabag 2-1 in Brussels in the night’s other game. Meanwhile, last season’s Champions League quarter-finalists Monaco are out of Europe altogether.

Liverpool advanced to the knockout stages as winners of their group after a 0-0 draw with Sion in the bitter chill of Switzerland. Jurgen Klopp’s side had already progressed so the German handed starts to the likes of Kolo Toure, Divock Origi and young left-back Brad Smith against opponents who required a point to confirm their own qualification for the last 32.

Smith’s performance was one of the biggest plusses in a game of few chances played in freezing temperatures and it was a result that suited both teams in the end. Liverpool finish top of Group B after going unbeaten through their six games, while Sion advanced as well, although even a defeat would have sufficed for them because Rubin Kazan drew 2-2 at Bordeaux in the other match.

Serie A high-fliers Fiorentina confirmed their place in the last 32 with a 1-0 win at home to Belenenses of Portugal in Florence, Khouma Babacar scoring the only goal of the game. La Viola progress in second place in Group I behind Swiss club Basel, who were 1-0 winners away to Lech Poznan.

It was a good night for Italian clubs in the competition, with already qualified Lazio drawing 1-1 away to Saint-Etienne in France and Napoli making it six wins from six in Group D with a 5-2 thumping of Legia Warsaw.

Augsburg joined fellow Bundesliga sides Borussia Dortmund and Schalke in advancing by virtue of a 3-1 success against Partizan Belgrade in Serbia. Schalke ended the group stage unbeaten after a 4-0 victory away to Asteras Tripolis in Group K but already qualified Dortmund lost 1-0 at home to PAOK in Group C.

The German trio will be joined in the last 32 by Bayer Leverkusen, who were eliminated from the Champions League this midweek. Celtic finished without a win in Group A after a 1-1 draw with Fenerbahce in Istanbul that took the Turks through.

Other sides to go through on the night were Midtjylland of Denmark, Marseille, Lokomotiv Moscow and Sporting Lisbon.