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Udinese reach last 32 despite crowd trouble

December 04, 2008 15:55 IST

Udinese kept their composure to reach the knockout phase of the UEFA Cup after their home tie with Dinamo Zagreb was briefly halted when fans of the Croatian team bombarded the pitch with burning flares on Wednesday.

The Serie A side progressed from Group D with a game to spare after a 2-1 win which came after the match was interrupted for 10 minutes in the second half.

Galatasaray, the 2000 winners, Standard Liege, Twente Enschede and Ukraine's Metalist Kharkiv also reached the last 32, joining favourites AC Milan, CSKA Moscow, Manchester City and St Etienne who had already qualified.

Twice winners Sevilla boosted their hopes by brushing aside Partizan Belgrade in Spain but their 3-0 victory was overshadowed by an injury to Almani Moreira.

The Partizan midfielder was carried off the pitch unconscious after colliding with an opponent early in the game. Belgrade's B92 website (www.b92.net) said Moreira later regained conciousness in hospital.

"We hope it's not a serious injury but we will know more after diagnosis from the doctors," said Partizan vice-president Zoran Mirkovic.

Udinese's clash with Dinamo at the Friuli stadium was halted, and the players taken to the dressing rooms, when the flares were thrown on the pitch.

"I don't have words (to explain it) ... at the time we were doing well," Dinamo coach Marijan Vlak told reporters.

Udinese, whose Serie A form has deserted them in recent weeks, the early-season pacesetters have slipped to ninth after four consecutive defeats, were leading 1-0 at the time thanks to an early goal from Italy forward Fabio Quagliarella.

After the game was restarted, Nigerian Christian Obodo added a second for Udinese in the 79th minute before Igor Biscan pulled a goal back in stoppage time.

Visiting NEC Nijmegen scored two goals in the final six minutes to defeat Spartak Moscow 2-1 and keep their qualification hopes alive.

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Spartak appeared on course for the last 32 after Sergey Kovalchuk's early strike but the Dutch side stunned the hosts with late goals from Jhonny van Beukering and Lasse Schoene.

A Spartak victory would also have sent twice former winners Tottenham through.

Spurs will need a point from their final game at home to Spartak to guarantee qualification but six points should already be enough.

Only once since the group stage format was introduced in 2004-05 has six points not been enough to progress, with Rangers missing out that season.

A second-half penalty from Czech striker Milan Baros secured Galatasaray a 1-0 win at Hertha Berlin and put them top of Group B.

In the same group, Brazilian midfielder Edmar hit the winner for the second successive UEFA Cup game to send Metalist through after a 1-0 home victory over Olympiakos Piraeus.

There was no happy return to Enschede for Schalke 04 coach Fred Rutten as Twente's 2-1 victory in Group A put them through and left the Bundesliga side hoping results go their way next week.

Rutten spent his entire playing career at Twente between 1977-92 and went on to be their coach before leaving in the close season to join Schalke.

Goals from Rob Wielaert and Kenneth Perez put Twente 2-0 up before Gerald Asamoah replied.

Group C leaders Standard made it three wins from three, first-half goals from Igor de Camargo, Oguchi Onyewu and Milan Jovanovic beating Sampdoria 3-0.

The top three in each of the eight groups advance to the knockout phase and will be joined in the last 32 by the eight clubs who finish third in the Champions League group stage.

The UEFA Cup final is in Istanbul on May 20.

Source:
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