Liverpool's Luis Suarez reacts after his team lost their
Europa League match against Zenit St. Petersburg at Anfield
in Liverpool. REUTERS/Darren Staples
Holders Atletico Madrid were sent spinning out of the
Europa League by Russian outsiders Rubin Kazan while Champions
League winners Chelsea scored with almost the final kick to
scrape into the last 16.
Another Russian club, Zenit St Petersburg, knocked out
five-time European champions Liverpool on the away goals rule
while little-known Czech side Viktoria Plzen surprisingly won
their tie against Napoli who are riding high in Serie A.
Atletico slumped to a shock 2-0 home defeat by Rubin in
Madrid last week and were ousted 2-1 on aggregate even though
Radamel Falcao's 84th-minute strike earned them a 1-0 win in
the return match in Russia.
"If we had scored earlier we would have given ourselves more
of a chance but even then we still had opportunities to get a
second goal," Falcao told the club website (www.clubatleticomadrid.com).
"We just didn't have the luck," added the Colombia striker
after netting his 25th goal of the season for the Spanish
Coach Diego Simeone left a host of regular starters back in
Spain for the last-32, second leg tie at a near-empty
Luzhniki Stadium in freezing Moscow, suggesting Atletico were
focusing more on maintaining second spot in La Liga.
The only blot on the night for Rubin was the straight red
card given to captain Cesar Navas in the 89th minute of a
match watched by a crowd of less than 10,000.
Rubin will meet another Spanish club, Levante, in the last
16, after the Valencia-based side won 1-0 at Olympiakos
Piraeus to knock the Greeks out 4-0 on aggregate.
Champions League dropouts Chelsea, 1-0 up from the first leg,
went behind in the 17th minute against Sparta Prague.
Stamford Bridge fell almost silent when David Lafata belted
the ball into the roof of the net from close range.
Fernando Torres had another less than distinguished game in
attack for Chelsea and produced a hat-trick of near-misses in
the first half with his right foot, left foot and head.
The misfiring Spaniard then failed to beat the goalkeeper in
a one-on-one situation in the second period before substitute
Eden Hazard came to the rescue, cutting in from the left to
send a searing left-foot drive into the top corner of the
"We left it late and sometimes that's the best way," said
captain John Terry after the 1-1 draw gave Chelsea a 2-1
victory on aggregate. "It wasn't our best performance but at
least we are through to the next round.
"It was a great goal from Eden. It's great to have players
like him on the bench who can come on and turn a game."
Chelsea next play Steaua Bucharest who edged past former
European champions Ajax Amsterdam 4-2 on penalties after
their clash ended 2-2 on aggregate.
Liverpool's 150th appearance in Europe was an unhappy affair
as they went out to Zenit on away goals after the tie
finished 3-3 on aggregate.
Luis Suarez netted twice from direct free kicks to help
Liverpool record a 3-1 second-leg win in front of a typically
noisy Anfield crowd but Zenit hung on to set up a meeting
with Swiss club Basel who put out Ukrainians Dnipro
"It was absolutely breathtaking how everyone came together
tonight," said Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers of the
atmosphere generated by the home fans.
"We were very proud of the club and the players tonight. They
showed why they're part of the world's best football family."
Napoli, flying high in second place in Serie A, went out in
tame fashion in the Czech Republic, losing 2-0 on the night
to Viktoria and 5-0 overall.
Viktoria's goals both came in the second half from Jan
Kovarik and Stanislav Tecl. They now take on Fenerbahce after
the Turks put out BATE Borisov of Belarus 1-0 on aggregate.
Tottenham Hotspur, winners of the competition when it was
called the UEFA Cup in 1972 and 1984, looked to be heading
out on away goals against Olympique Lyon until Moussa Dembele
struck with a venomous left-foot drive in the 90th minute to
secure a 1-1 draw on the night and a 3-2 aggregate triumph.
Maxime Gonalons had put Lyon 1-0 up in the second leg with a
deft close-range header following a free kick out on the left
from Clement Grenier.
Three Spurs fans were hurt in clashes in Lyon on the eve of
The Londoners now play Inter in a mouthwatering rematch of
their 2010 Champions League group stage tie.
Fredy Guarin scored twice and Marco Benassi was also on
target as Inter, UEFA Cup winners in 1991, 1994 and 1998, won
3-0 at CFR Cluj to breeze past the Romanians 5-0 on
Former European champions Benfica beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-1
in Portugal (3-1 on aggregate) and Girondins Bordeaux
progressed with a 1-0 win over Dynamo Kiev in France (2-1 on
Big-spending Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala were too strong
for Germany's Hanover 96, cruising through 4-2 overall after
a 1-1 away draw while Lazio beat Borussia Moenchengladbach
2-0 to go through 5-3 on aggregate.