Former Champs Tottenham, Sevilla Win Europa League Playoffs
Tottenham Hotspur and Sevilla were among three former champions advancing to the group stage of soccer’s Europa League, while fellow two-time winner Feyenoord was eliminated.
Tottenham, which won Europe’s second-tier club competition in 1972 and 1984, beat Dinamo Tbilisi 3-0 last night to complete an 8-0 win over the two-match qualifying playoff. Sevilla, which captured back-to-back titles in 2006 and 2007, routed Slask Wroclaw 5-0 for a 9-1 total victory.
Eintracht Frankfurt, the 1980 champion, beat Qarabag 2-1 to close out a 4-1 series win. Feyenoord lost 3-1 on aggregate to Russian team Kuban Krasnodar after a 2-1 home loss.
The 30 playoff winners will be joined in today’s group-stage draw in Monaco by eight automatic qualifiers and nine playoff losers from the elite Champions League.
The final club in the 48-team field is APOEL of Cyprus, which was reinstated today in a special draw of the playoff losers in place of Fenerbahce after the Turkish club was disqualified from European competition for match-fixing.
Besiktas, another Turkish team, was this morning replaced in the group-stage draw by Norway’s Tromso after the Court of Arbitration for Sport dismissed its appeal against expulsion from the Europa League because of match-fixing, UEFA said.
AZ Alkmaar lost at home 2-0 to Atromitos, but moved into the group stage on the away-goals rule after an opening 3-1 victory in Greece. The game in the Netherlands was completed this morning after being suspended last night because of a fire at AZ’s stadium.
Swansea lost 2-1 at Petrolul, though secured its first Europa League group-stage appearance by a 6-3 aggregate score. Slovan Liberec wrapped up a 4-2 series win against Udinese with a 1-1 draw, while Goran Mujanovic’s stoppage-time goal gave Rijeka a 2-2 draw with Stuttgart and a 4-3 total victory.
Chornomorets Odesa beat Skenderbeu 7-6 in a penalty shootout after the teams finished 1-1, Fiorentina lost at home 1-0 to Grasshoppers, though advanced on away goals after winning the opener 2-1 in Switzerland, and Alexandru Ciucur scored in extra time to send Pandurii past Sporting Braga 2-1 on aggregate.
TEAMS IN THE EUROPA LEAGUE GROUP-STAGE DRAW =========================================== Anzhi Makhachkala, APOEL, Apollon, AZ Alkmaar, Bordeaux, Chornomorets Odesa, Dinamo Zagreb, Dnipro, Dynamo Kiev, Elfsborg, Esbjerg, Estoril, Fiorentina, Frankfurt, Freiburg, Genk, Kuban, Lazio, Legia Warsaw, Liberec, Ludogorets, Lyon, Maribor, Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Maccabi Haifa, Pandurii, PAOK, Pacos Ferreira, PSV Eindhoven, Rapid Vienna, Real Betis, Rijeka, Rubin Kazan, St. Gallen, Salzburg, Sevilla, Shakter Karagandy, Sheriff, Standard Liege, Swansea, Thun, Tottenham, Trabzonspor, Tromso, Valencia, Vitoria, Wigan, Zulte Waregem.