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Former Champions PSV, Liverpool, Inter Advance in Europa League

Former champion PSV Eindhoven rolled into the group stage of soccer’s Europa League, where it’s joined by three-time champions Liverpool and Inter Milan.

PSV, the 1978 winner of Europe’s second-tier club competition, routed FK Zeta of Montenegro 9-0 last night to complete a 14-0 win over the two-match qualifying playoff. Tim Matavz and Georginio Wijnaldum each scored three goals for the Dutch club.

Liverpool beat Hearts 2-1 after earning a 1-1 home draw on Luis Suarez’s 88th-minute score, while Inter advanced 4-2 over Vaslui after a 2-2 tie in Milan. Liverpool and Inter share the record of three titles in the competition with Juventus.

“They were two very tough games and were never going to be easy, but I thought the attitude and commitment of the players was excellent,” Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said in comments on his team’s website. “We showed our spirit towards the end when we went behind.”

The 31 playoff winners join the seven automatic qualifiers, including defending champion Atletico Madrid and Tottenham, and the 10 playoff losers from the elite Champions League, in the 48-team group stage. The draw is scheduled for today in Monaco.

Haris Vuckic scored as Newcastle beat Atromitos 1-0 last night to complete a 2-1 series win, Libor Kozak scored twice as Lazio beat Mura 3-1 to advance 5-1. Athletic Bilbao, last year’s runner-up, also moved into the group stage, along with Marseille, Hannover and Sporting Lisbon.

FC Twente advanced 5-4 in extra time over Bursaspor, Videoton beat Trabzonspor 4-2 in a penalty shootout after a pair of goalless games, and Viktoria Plzen and Partizan Belgrade won by scoring more away goals after both tied in their series.

Former champions Feyenoord and CSKA Moscow were eliminated by Sparta Prague and AIK, respectively.

Academia, Anzhi Makhachkala, Athletic Bilbao, Atletico Madrid,
AIK, Bayer Leverkusen, Basel, Bordeaux, Bruges, Copenhagen,
Dnipro, FC Twente, Fenerbahce, Genk, Hannover, Hapoel Kiryat
Shmona, Hapoel Tel-Aviv, Helsingborg, Inter Milan, Lazio,
Levante, Limassol, Liverpool, Lyon, Maribor, Maritimo, Metalist
Kharkiv, Marseille, Moenchengladbach, Molde, Napoli, Neftchi,
Newcastle, Panathinaikos, Partizan Belgrade, PSV, Rapid Vienna,
Rosenborg, Rubin Kazan, Sparta Prague, Sporting Lisbon, Steaua
Bucharest, Stuttgart, Tottenham, Udinese, Videoton, Viktoria
Plzen, Young Boys.

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