Deportivo, Copenhagen and Lech Poznan advance in UEFA Cup

December 18th, 2008 - 1:38 pm ICT by IANS  

AC MilanHamburg, Dec 18 (DPA) Spain’s Deportivo La Coruna, Poland’s Lech Poznan and Danish side Copenhagen have secured places in the last 32 of the UEFA Cup football tournament.French side St Etienne drew with Valencia, while Hamburg downed Aston Villa and fellow Germans Wolfsburg drew at AC Milan to finish top of their groups Wednesday.

Deportivo needed a 73rd-minute goal from Mexican striker Omar Bravo to edge out French side Nancy in Group H where three teams were fighting for two qualifying places behind CSKA Moscow.

Lech Poznan squeezed through to the knockout stage in third place with a 1-0 win at Feyenoord courtesy of a 27th-minute Ivan Djurdjevic goal, leaving Nancy out in the cold in fourth place.

Brazilian midfielder Cesar Santin was the hero for FC Copenhagen, his goal in the 58th minute giving the Danish side a 1-0 at Club Brugge to leapfrog the Belgians into the third place in Group G.

France’s St. Etienne clinched top spot in the group with a 2-2 draw with already-qualified Valencia who finish second.

Araujo Dall’Igna Ilan scored both goals (29 and 45) for the home side either side of a Fernando Morientes strike in the 33rd, but the Spanish side levelled through Nikola Zigic in the 71st.

Germany’s Wolfsburg secured first place in Group E with a 2-2 draw at Italian giants AC Milan, who finish second in the group.

A 15th-minute header by Massimo Ambrosini put the 1997 Champions League winners ahead, and Pato was on target for a second immediately after a 56th-minute equalizer from Wolfsburg’s Cristian Zaccardo.

But Felix Magath’s side grabbed the point for group victory with a goal nine minutes from time from Mahir Saglik. AC Milan finish second, with Portugal’s Braga - not in action - already assured of third place.

Two goals from Ivica Olic after Croatian strike partner Mladen Petric opened the scoring gave SV Hamburg a 3-1 win over Aston Villa to give the Bundesliga side top spot in Group F.

Petric controlled a long ball from Piotr Trochowski before firing into the net in the 18th minute, and Olic increased the lead with a close-range diving header on the half hour.

Villa failed to deal with a long ball out of defence from Joris Mathijsen, and Olic drove home his second in the 57th.

An 83rd-minute goal from 17-year-old Nathan Delfouneso was a consolation for Villa who had midfielder Steven Sidwell sent off a minute late following a second booking.

The defeat leaves already-qualified Villa third in the group behind Dutch side Ajax who drew 2-2 with Slavia Prague.

Slavia came back from a fourth-minute goal by Jan Vertonghen with goals from Jaroslav Cerny (13th) and Marek Jarolim (41st), but a stoppage-time penalty from Luis Suarez gave Ajax the point.

The top teams in the groups will have a theoretical advantage in the knockout stage where the opponents will be a third-place finisher, with the second leg match at home.

The final places in Groups A, B, C and D will be determined Thursday before the draw is made in Nyon, Switzerland on Friday for both the Round of 32 and Round of 16.

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