Feyenoord and Steaua reach last 32 in UEFA Cup
LONDON: Feyenoord won the battle of the former winners to reach the last 32 of the UEFA Cup on Wednesday after a 2-1 victory over Schalke 04.
The Rotterdam side, winners in 2002 when they beat Borussia Dortmund in their own De Kuip stadium, joined 1997 victors Schalke in qualifying from Group A. Feyenoord and former European champions Steaua Bucharest were the only teams on the night to guarantee progress to the knockout stages.
The Cup’s new group format this season involves eight groups of five teams with the top three going into the last 32 where they are joined by eight teams from the Champions League. Two goals from Salomon Kalou lifted the pressure on Feyenoord boss Ruud Gullit, under-fire for his side’s stuttering league form.
Bundesliga high-flyers Schalke, who started with regular strike duo Ebbe Sand and Gerald Asamoah on the bench, took a seventh minute lead when Mike Hanke poked home from close range. Kalou levelled in the 32nd minute after he was played in by strike partner Dirk Kuijt and the same pair combined again four minutes before the break, Kuijt crossing for Kalou to score with a diving header. Swiss side Basel came from a goal down in Budapest in the other Group A game to defeat Ferencvaros 2-1 and keep their hopes of going through alive.
Steaua through: Steaua Bucharest went through from Group B despite a 1-0 defeat in Spain to Athletic Bilbao. The Romanian side have completed their programme on six points but can only be overhauled by two of the other four teams.
Athletic captain Joseba Etxeberria hit the only goal in first-half stoppage time, firing a superbly taken shot into the roof of the net after striker Ismael Urzaiz had headed back into his path at a rain-drenched San Mames. Steaua were denied an equaliser late on when Daniel Aranzubia made a fine block from Nicolae Dica.
Besiktas were pegged back by a late equaliser in Istanbul, Sambegou Bangoura cancelling out a first-half strike from Turkish international midfielder Okan Buruk. The 1-1 draw left both sides on four points with all still to play for. Sporting, who will stage this season’s final in Lisbon, wasted the chance to book their place after failing to get the point they needed at home to Sochaux in Group D.
Johann Lonfat scored with an angled drive in the second minute after a mistake by Brazilian defender Polga to net the only goal for the French side, who join Sporting on six points with one round of matches to go. Greek side Panionios could still go through after Evagelos Mantzios hit a hat-trick in a 5-2 demolition of winless Dinamo Tbilisi. Newcastle United have already qualified from the group.
Real Zaragoza did their chances of making the last 32 no harm with a 2-1 home win over Ukraine’s Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, who are already through from Group C. Savio and David Generelo turned the game around after an early strike by Volodymyr Yezerskyy. Zaragoza have six points from three matches, two more than Austria Vienna and Club Bruges who drew 1-1 in the Austrian capital.
Norwegian Rune Lange secured a point for the 10-man Belgians in stoppage time, just seconds after Brazilian Victor had been dismissed. Vienna were also reduced to 10 men in the final seconds with Sasa Papac getting a second yellow. reuters