Stoke, Lokomotiv Moscow, Schalke Get to Knockout Rounds in Europa League
Stoke City and Lokomotiv Moscow advanced to the last 32 in the Europa League, while FC Twente defeated Fulham 1-0 to win their group in the continent’s second-tier soccer competition.
Stoke qualified with a 1-1 home draw against Dynamo Kiev last night as Kenwyne Jones headed in a cross from Jermain Pennant with nine minutes remaining after a Matthew Upson own goal put the visitors ahead in the first half.
“What we’ve done is fantastic,” Stoke manager Tony Pulis told reporters. “We’ve qualified from the hardest group we could have been put in, not only because of the quality of the opposition but because of the travelling.”
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.
Stoke has 11 points in Group E, two more than Besiktas, which is three points ahead of Kiev. Two goals from Ricardo Quaresma and another from Ibrahim Toraman gave Besiktas a 3-2 win against Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel.
Maicon scored for Lokomotiv in the 62nd minute to break a scoreless Group L match in Moscow. Florian Kainz tied the game a minute later and the hosts sealed the win with a Dmitri Sychev penalty kick and a late goal by Denis Glushakov. In the other match in the group, Anderlecht got past AEK Athens 2-1 in Greece.
In the Netherlands, Marc Janko scored in the 89th minute to keep Twente at the top of Group K.
Also in the group, Wisla Krakow beat last-place Odense 2-1. The victory puts Krakow a point behind Fulham with one game to play. Fulham had striker Andy Johnson red-carded for a second bookable offence in added time at the end of the game, ruling him out of the final match against Odense.
“That was not what you want,” Fulham coach Martin Jol told reporters. “We need all of our players and Andy Johnson is scoring goals.”
Sporting Lisbon will finish atop Group D after a 2-0 victory over FC Zurich yesterday. Lazio and Vaslui are tied on six points after they drew 0-0 in Romania.
Paris Saint-Germain’s chances of advancing were hurt by a 2-0 loss in Salzburg. The hosts got goals from Jakob Jantscher and Dusan Svento. PSG is tied with Salzburg on seven points in Group F and will be eliminated if the Austrian team defeats Slovan Bratislava in their last game. Bilbao will finish top of the group after beating Bratislava 2-1 at home.
In Group J, Schalke advanced with a 2-1 victory over Steaua Bucharest, while AEK Larnaca defeated Maccabi Haifa by the same score. Schalke got a goal from Raul, his first in the Europa League after 71 in the Champions League, the region’s top club competition.
“I had a few chances and it’s a shame I didn’t score, although I was involved in Raul’s goal,” Schalke forward Klaas- Jan Huntelaar told reporters. “It’s great to play alongside him because he is very experienced, clever and has seen so much.”
Sporting Lisbon, Anderlecht, PSV Eindhoven, Legia Warsaw, Twente and Athletic Bilbao were already through to the round of 32 before last night’s games.
Atletico Madrid, Braga, PAOK Salonika, Metalist Kharkiv, Standard Liege and Hannover secured spots in the knockout rounds two days ago.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at email@example.com