Spanish duo tumble in UEFA Cup; big wins for PSG, Olympiakos

December 19th, 2008 - 5:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Hamburg, Dec 19 (DPA) Two-time winners Sevilla and fellow Spanish side Racing Santander both crashed out of the UEFA Cup, while England’s Tottenham Hotspur were among the teams to advance to the last 32.Sevilla, winners of the competition in 2006 and 2007, slipped to a 1-0 Group C at the hands of Italy’s Sampdoria who earned a place in the draw for the knockout stages Friday.

Germany’s VfB Stuttgart clinched the third spot in the group by downing group winners Standard Liege 3-0 to bag one of the six remaining places at stake.

Tottenham, another two-time winner, advanced after coming from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Spartak Moscow in Group D.

It proved a disappointing evening for the Russians as Dutch side Nijmegen defeated group winners Udinese 2-0 to book their place in the knockout stage.

Paris St Germain progressed with a 4-0 win over FC Twente in Group A, while Santander lost out despite a 3-1 defeat of Manchester City.

Olympiakos thrashed Germany’s Hertha Berlin 4-0 to win third place in Group B.

Stuttgart’s win confirmed a coaching job for Marcus Babbel until the end of the season as well as second spot in Group C.

“We’re pleased we can continue. It means we’ve done a good job so far,” said Babbel, who replaced the sacked Armin Veh four weeks ago.

“We’ve taken a few small steps forward but the journey is not over. We have big aims and we want to continue along the path we’ve taken.”

Goals from Sami Khedira in the fifth minute, Roberto Hilbert four minutes after the break and Romanian Ciprian Marica in the 72nd minute earned a comprehensive victory for the Bundesliga side.

Two late goals helped Paris St Germain power through in Group A with a 4-0 defeat of already-qualified FC Twente, with a brace from Peguy Luyindula, in the eighth and 86th minutes, and one apiece from Stephane Sessegnon (24) and Mateja Kezman (84).

Racing Santander lost out on goal difference despite a 3-1 win over already-qualified Manchester City, who finished top of the group.

First-half strikes from Jonathan Pereira (18) and Oscar Serrano (30) and a Juan Valera goal 10 minutes after the interval gave the Spanish side every chance of progressing, but PSG’s late goal surge and a late City consolation from Felipe Caicedo ended their hopes.

Both overtook Germany’s Schalke 04 who ended bottom of the group.

Hertha Berlin were another German casualty after going down 4-0 to Olympiakos who secured third spot in Group B behind Galatasaray and Ukrainian outfit Metalist Kharkiv.

Brazilian midfielder Dudu headed Olympiakos ahead in the 54th minute, Argentinian midfielder Luciano Galletti converted a 76th-minute penalty and Vassilis Torosidis (86) and Diogo (89) completed the rout to give the Greek side a ninth consecutive home win in European football.

Metalist finished top of the group after earning a 1-0 win at Benfica.

Tottenham Hotspur, winners of the competition in 1972 and 1984 earned a 2-2 draw at home to Spartak Moscow but still advanced.

Striker Artyom Dzuyba stunned a weakened Spurs side, who had key players injured or cup-tied, with goals in the 23rd and 33rd minutes but the home side pulled one back in the 67th through Croatia midfielder Luka Modric and Tom Huddlestone in the 74th minute.

They were joined in the next round by Nijmegen who defeated Group D winners Udinese 2-0, with goals from Collins John and Jhonny van Beukering in the 75th and 78th minutes.

Spain’s Deportivo La Coruna, Poland’s Lech Poznan and Danish side Copenhagen secured places in the last 32 Wednesday.

The draw will be made at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland Friday for both the Round of 32 and Round of 16.

The top teams in the groups will have a theoretical advantage in the last 32 where the opponents will be a third-place finisher, with the second leg match at home.

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