Middlesbrough, Strasbourg advance in UEFA Cup

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:53 IST

Middlesbrough, Strasbourg and Marseille became the first clubs to advance to the knockout stage of the UEFA Cup on Thursday.

Middlesbrough, Strasbourg advance in UEFA Cup

London:

Middlesbrough, Strasbourg and Marseille became the first clubs to advance to the knockout stage of the UEFA Cup on Thursday.Middlesbrough, which has seven points from three games, qualified with a 0-0 draw at Dutch club AZ Alkmaar with a match to spare. Strasbourg also advanced by drawing 1-1 with Italy's AS Roma, while Marseille moved into the second round by beating Heerenveen 1-0.Middlesbrough goalkeeper Brad Jones had a standout match, making saves from Kenneth Perez, Shota Arvaladze and Danny Koevermans.AZ, third in the Dutch league, had scored 24 goals in its previous six home games this season.Other gamesIn the other Group D game, Bulgaria's Litex Lovech beat Dnipro 2-0. 'Boro has seven points, Litex six, AZ four, with Grasshoppers and Dnipro on zero.Strasbourg took the lead in the 52nd minute through Habib Bellaid, before Antonio Cassano leveled in the 73rd. Strasbourg has seven points from three games in Group E, Roma has four, Tromso and Basel have three, and 1991 European champion Red Star Belgrade has no points. Tromso beat Red Star 3-1.The winners, runners-up and third-placed clubs from each of the eight groups of Europe's second-tier club competition advance to the last 32 where they are joined by the eight third-placed clubs from the Champions League. The traditional two-match knockout format is then used until the final.Fresh from winning the Russian league title last weekend, defending UEFA Cup champion CSKA Moscow beat Levski Sofia 2-1 on two goals from Brazilian striker Vagner Love.Marseille's Taye Ismaila Taiwo converted a 90th-minute penalty for the French club to lead Group F with six points. CSKA has four points, Levski three, Heerenveen two and Dinamo Bucharest one.Stuttgart beat ThessalonikiIn Group G, Stuttgart rallied from 1-0 down to beat PAOK 2-1 in Thessaloniki, Greece. Danijel Ljuboja scored in the 85th and from a 89th-minute penalty, which saw PAOK's Ifeanyi Udeze sent off. Stuttgart midfielder Silvio Meissner was also dismissed in the 76th after receiving a second yellow card.Rapid Bucharest beat Shakhtar Donetsk 1-0 in the other Group G game. Rapid coach Razvan Lucescu was up against his father Mircea Lucescu, who coached Shakhtar. Rapid, Shakhtar and Stuttgart all have six points, with PAOK and Rennes on zero.In Group C, four clubs have four points after Sampdoria beat Halmstads BK 3-1 and Hertha Berlin drew 0-0 with Lens. Idle Steaua Bucharest, Sampdoria, Lens, and Hertha all have four points, with Halmstad on zero.Missed chanceIn Group A, Hamburg missed a chance to qualify when it lost 2-0 to Monaco, a finalist in the 2004 Champions League. Emmanuel Adebayor and Olivier Veigneau scored for Monaco. Hamburg's Khalid Boulahrouz was sent off in the 90th for a challenge on Monaco goalkeeper Guillaume Warmuz.Viking drew 2-2 with Slavia Prague 2 in the other Group A game. Hamburg has six points, Slavia and Viking have four, Monaco has three and Sofia has zero.In Group H, Zenit St. Petersburg beat Sevilla 2-1 and Guimares drew 1-1 with Bolton. Zenit has six points, Bolton five, Sevilla three and Guimares and Besiktas have one each.In Group B, an injury-time goal from Moises Hurtado gave Espanyol a 1-1 draw with Palermo, who scored through Mariano Gonzalez. Palermo's Paul Codrea was sent off in the 90th for two yellow cards.On Wednesday, Dmitry Loskov scored three goals to help Lokomotiv Moscow come back and beat Brondby 4-2. Palermo has five points, Lokomotiv and Espanyol have four, Brondby has three and Maccabi Petach-Tikva has zero. (AP)



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