Atletico Madrid, Braga, PAOK Salonika Advance in Soccer’s Europa League
Former champion Atletico Madrid beat Celtic 1-0 to qualify for the round of 32 in soccer’s Europa League, with five other teams also advancing.
Arda Turan got the only goal at Parkhead in Glasgow for Atletico, which won the title in 2010. Braga, PAOK Salonika, Metalist Kharkiv, Standard Liege and Hannover secured spots in the knockout rounds after yesterday’s matches.
The top two teams from each of the 12 groups go through to the next round, where they’re joined by the eight third-place finishers from the elite Champions League. Sporting Lisbon, Anderlecht, PSV Eindhoven, Legia Warsaw, FC Twente and Athletic Bilbao were already through to the round of 32.
Braga defeated Birmingham City 1-0, PAOK beat Tottenham 2-1, Metalist won 4-1 against Austria Vienna, while Standard Liege beat Hannover 2-0.
In other games, Udinese tied 0-0 against Rennes, Club Brugge beat Maribor 4-3, Rubin Kazan defeated Shamrock Rovers 4- 1, while Vorskla and FC Copenhagen drew 1-1. There were no goals in the match between Malmo and AZ Alkmaar, Hapoel Tel-Aviv won 3-1 at Rapid Bucharest, and PSV Eindhoven beat Legia Warsaw 3-0.
Celtic will have to win at Udinese in its final Group I game on Dec. 15 to advance ahead of the Italian team. Udinese, third in Italy’s Serie A, was held to a scoreless draw by Rennes, which cannot progress.
Braga defeated Birmingham on a goal from Hugo Viana to move into the next round because of its head-to-head record against the English team. Birmingham’s Nikola Zigic had a penalty saved.
Braga, Brugge Tied
Braga, which lost last year’s final to Portuguese rival Porto, is tied on 10 points in Group H with Club Brugge, while Birmingham has seven points and must win its final match to retain a chance of going through. Maribor has one point.
Jose Ernesto Sosa scored one goal and set up two as Ukraine’s Metalist secured qualification from Group G. AZ missed a chance to qualify as it was held to a draw, but now holds a two-point advantage over Austria Vienna.
PAOK held on with 10 men to beat Tottenham and advance from Group A. Dimitris Salpingidis and Stefanos Athanasiadis scored for the Greeks, who had Kostas Stafylidis ejected. Luka Modric got a penalty for Spurs, who trail Rubin Kazan by three points with one game to play.
Liege will top Group B after its win against Hannover, which advances because of a superior head-to-head record against Copenhagen.
PSV will top Group C after its win against 10-man Legia, which was also already assured of qualifying.
The other six groups play their next-to-last games today.
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