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Rediff News  All News  » Sports » UEFA Cup joy for Helsingborg, Panathinaikos

UEFA Cup joy for Helsingborg, Panathinaikos

November 30, 2007 08:27 IST

Sweden's Helsingborg and Greek side Panathinaikos became the first clubs to reach the knock-out phase of the UEFA Cup on Thursday.

Former European champions Bayern Munich missed their chance to reach the last 32, a 1-1 draw in Portugal against Braga ensuring the Bundesliga leaders still have work to do to qualify from the group stage.

Bayern led through Miroslav Klose's early second-half goal, the Germany striker converting Luca Toni's cross, but were pegged back by Austrian striker Roland Linz in a physical encounter at the Estadio Municipal.

Bayern have five points from three games in Group F, followed by Aris Salonika on four and Bolton Wanderers on three. Braga have two points while Red Star Belgrade, bottom without a point, are not out yet.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Juande Ramos waved his magic UEFA Cup wand again as Spurs produced an electric second-half showing to hit back from two goals down to defeat Denmark's AaB Aalborg 3-2 at White Hart Lane.

Ramos, who led Sevilla to successive UEFA Cup triumphs, is still unbeaten since taking charge of the Premier League side but must have feared the worst after first-half goals from Thomas Enevoldsen and Kasper Risgard.

Spurs struck straight after the restart with Dimitar Berbatov converting Tom Huddlestone's pass, Steed Malbranque lashed in the equaliser soon after and Darren Bent clipped in the winner. Tottenham lead Group G with six points.


Benin striker Razak Omotoyossi fired Helsingborg into the last 32 as his double helped the unfashionable Swedes thump Austria Vienna 3-0 to guarantee progress from Group H.

Panathinaikos, with two wins from two, were not in action on Thursday but Atletico Madrid's 2-0 home win over Aberdeen guaranteed the Greeks qualification from Group B.

Unbeaten Atletico are well placed to progress after a Diego Forlan penalty and a Jamie Langfield own goal proved too much at the Calderon for Aberdeen.

Russian champions Zenit St Petersburg missed the chance to seal their passage from Group A after a late goal from Leon Benko earned Nuremburg a 2-2 draw at the Petrovsky stadium.

Zenit, playing their first competitive game since winning their first league title since 1984 on Nov. 11, had cancelled out a first-half goal from Greek striker Angelos Charisteas with two goals in three second-half minutes from Russia striker Pavel Pogrebnyak and Aleksei Ionov.

But Croatian substitute Benko struck six minutes from time to leave Zenit on five points from three games. Everton top the standings with six points.

After four matches in the group stage, the group winners, runners-up and third-placed team advance to the knockout phase. Five more rounds follow before the final in Manchester next May.

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