UEFA: Newcastle, Tottenham advance

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/F/Football.jpg' class='caption'> British clubs Rangers, Newcastle, Tottenham and Blackburn advanced to the third round of the UEFA Cup on Thursday with a game to spare.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:34 IST
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British clubs Rangers, Newcastle, Tottenham and Blackburn advanced to the third round of the UEFA Cup on Thursday with a game to spare. Rangers became the first club to advance with a 2-2 draw against Auxerre in Group A. Newcastle beat Celta Vigo 2-1 in Group H, Blackburn drew 0-0 with Feyenoord in Group H and Tottenham beat Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 in Group B. The first three clubs in the eight groups advance to knockout round of 32, where they're joined by the eight third-place clubs from the Champions League. Dimitar Berbatov scored against his former club to give Tottenham the win. Berbatov, who moved to Spurs at the beginning of the season, tapped in after 35 minutes in teeming rain. "We would have liked to keep him. It really hurts, but Tottenham was ready to pay a high transfer fee - you also have to think economically," Leverkusen coach Michael Skibbe said. Tottenham leads Group B with nine points after its third win. Dinamo Bucharest is second with four points after its 1-1 draw with FC Brugge. The group stage comprises eight groups of five, with each side playing four games, two at home and two away. The fourth round is next Wednesday and Thursday, with the final rotation on December 13-14. Rangers rallied twice in France. Ireneusz Jelen scored for Auxerre in the 31st minute and Nacho Novo netted in the 62nd to tie it before Daniel Niculae put the French club ahead again in the 75th. Kris Boyd scored the leveler in the 84th. Maccabi Haifa beat Partizan Belgrade 1-0 in the other Group A game, and now has six points from three games. Ten-man Ajax was held to a scoreless draw by Sparta Prague in Group F. Ajax defender Urby Emanuelson was sent off for two yellow cards in the 39th minute. Luis Garcia scored a hat trick for Espanyol in its 6-2 win over Zulte Waregem. The victory moved it to the top of Group F with six points. It was the first time Espanyol had scored six goals in any game since 1956. Zulte also has six points, with Ajax at four and Sparta with one. Newcastle's third win Steven Taylor scored the winner in the 86th minute to lift Newcastle to its third straight win. Fabian Canobbio had put Celta Vigo in front before Antoine Sibierski scored an equaliser. In the other Group H game, Palermo, which is second in the Italian league, fell 3-0 at Turkey's Fenerbahce. Stephen Appiah, Diego Lugano and Tuncay Sanli scored to help Fenerbahce get its first group win. Fenerbahce and Palermo have three points and Celta has one. Blackburn advanced with a scoreless draw in Rotterdam behind a strong performance from goalkeeper Brad Friedel. Blackburn has seven points, with Nancy second with four points after a 2-2 draw with Basel in the other Group E game. Defending champion Sevilla beat Braga 2-0 for its first win in Group C. Luis Fabiano scored with a low shot in the 40th minute and Javier Chevanton added the other in the 76th. Slovan Liberec earned its first win of the group stage with a 4-1 win over Grasshoppers, which has yet to earn a point. Israeli club Hapoel Tel Aviv won 4-2 at Paris Saint-Germain, with Elyaniv Barda scoring the winner in the 57th minute. Salim Toema scored twice for Hapoel within the first four minutes. Hapoel is second in Group G, behind idle Panathinaikos, with four points. Rapid Bucharest drew 1-1 with Mlada Boleslav in the other Group G game. Rapid has three points, with Mlada and PSG at one point. Parma beat Heerenveen 2-1 for its second straight win and moved atop Group D. OB Odense drew 1-1 with Lens in the other Group D match, leaving both clubs with four points. (AP)

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