Sat, Nov 24, 2012 - Page 18 News List

Europa League: Eto’o goal helps Anzhi progress

TIGHTER NET:Titleholders Atletico Madrid qualified, while Tottenham Hotspur played to another goalless draw against SS Lazio after Spurs fans were attacked

Reuters, BERNE

Anzhi Makhackhala’s Samuel Eto’o, center, shoots to score in their Europa League Group A match against Udinese in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday.

Photo: Reuters

Cameroon forward Samuel Eto’o scored to help ambitious Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala beat Udinese 2-0 and reach the Europa League knockout stages on Thursday, eliminating the Italians in the process.

Titleholders Atletico Madrid qualified with a 1-0 win over Hapoel Tel Aviv, but last season’s runners-up Athletic Bilbao, whose game in Israel against Hapoel Kiryat Shmona was postponed for security reasons, were knocked out without playing.

Sparta Prague, Levante, Genk, SS Lazio, Borussia Moenchengladbach, Fenerbahce, Viktoria Plzen, Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, Girondins de Bordeaux, Newcastle United and SSC Napoli also went through.

Lazio’s goalless draw at home to Tottenham was played against a backdrop of violence after 10 supporters of the English side were injured in an attack on a Rome pub by dozens of masked men in the early hours of Thursday.

Police said that among 15 Italians detained were two fans of AS Roma, Lazio’s bitter rivals, who were charged with violence and grievous bodily harm.

Lazio were fined 40,000 euros (US$51,542) by UEFA last month for racist chanting by their fans at the first game in London, which also ended goalless.

Former England midfielder Paul Gascoigne, who played for both clubs, was a guest of honor at the Group J match.

Lazio president Claudio Lotito paraded Gascoigne around the pitch and fans held a huge banner with his photograph.

Spurs ’keeper Hugo Lloris, struggling to impose himself as No. 1 with Brad Friedel playing more regularly, had an excellent game as the Londoners stayed in contention to go through in the final round of group games.

“It was not easy, we struggled against a good Lazio team. They controlled the game, they were well-organized and we had trouble to find space, so it is a good point for us,” Lloris told French TV. “I may have had much more work than usual in the Europa League, it is good for me and it is good for the team to grab a point.”

Christopher Samba and Eto’o scored in a three-minute spell in the second half to steer Guus Hiddink’s Anzhi into the last 32.

Samba headed in from a corner and former Barcelona and Inter forward Eto’o raced clear of the Udinese defense before slotting the ball past Zeljko Brkic, ending an unhappy European campaign for the Serie A side who missed out on the Champions League after losing on penalties to SC Braga.

The Group A match was played in Moscow after UEFA refused to let Anzhi stage matches in the violence-plagued Dagestan region for security reasons.

In the group’s other game, Liverpool twice led, but were held to a 2-2 draw by Young Boys after Montenegro’s Elsad Zverotic struck for the Swiss visitors with a 25m rocket in the 88th minute.

Sparta Prague’s 1-1 draw at home to Olympique Lyonnais in Group I sent them through alongside the already-qualified Ligue 1 outfit, but the result meant elimination for Marcelo Bielsa’s Athletic.

Steve McLaren’s Twente Enschede were also knocked out after being held to a scoreless draw by Hanover 96.

Elyaniv Barda’s first-half header gave Genk a 1-0 win at Videoton as the Belgians progressed from Group G into the round of 32.

Napoli went through in dramatic style when Edinson Cavani, who scored four goals in their previous match against Dnipro, converted a penalty in the fourth minute of stoppage-time for a 2-1 win at AIK after they had been reduced to 10 men.

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