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Minnows Braga down giants Sevilla in style

sports Updated: Aug 25, 2010 22:43 IST
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Sevilla, who reached the last 16 of the Champions League last season, were handed a shock playoff defeat by unfashionable Braga on Tuesday while Werder Bremen pulled off a spectacular escape act to oust Sampdoria.

Substitute Lima, 27, a Brazilian journeyman forward, came on to score a second-half hat-trick to give Braga a 4-3 win in Spain and send the Portuguese outfit into the group stage for the first time 5-3 on aggregate.

Werder, leading 3-1 from the first leg, went 3-0 down at Sampdoria before substitute Markus Rosenberg scored in the third minute of stoppage time to set up extra-time.

Claudio Pizarro then netted as the Bundesliga team lost 3-2 on the night but qualified 5-4 on aggregate to leave Spain and Italy with only three teams in Europe’s top club competition.

“It hurts because we were winning 3-0 and should have dealt with it better,” Sampdoria captain Angelo Palombo told Sky television.

“It was a dream and would have meant lots of money to the club. I hope the squad stays together now.”

There was further drama as Partizan Belgrade knocked out Anderlecht 3-2 on penalties after drawing 2-2 in Belgium where the visitors let slip a two-goal lead in the last half hour.

Swiss league champions Basel won 3-0 at Sheriff Tiraspol to complete a 4-0 aggregate win over the Moldovans while Hapoel Tel Aviv qualified for the first time with a 1-1 home draw against Salzburg clinching a 4-3 triumph overall.

It is the 10th season in a row Sheriff have failed to get through the qualifying stages while Salzburg, Austria’s biggest-spending team, have fallen at the final hurdle four times in five seasons.

Fifa dismisses N.Korea witch-hunt

Zurich: FIFA has dismissed allegations that North Korea’s coach and players were punished for losing all three of their games at this year’s World Cup.

“The (North Korean) FA assures FIFA that Mr Kim Jong-hun, head coach of the national team, and all the other members of the national team are training as usual,” FIFA said in a statement.

“The association also indicates that there were no sanctions to the coach and that the reports on this matter were baseless.

“With all of the information at hand, and having checked all of its sources, FIFA has decided to close the matter.”

Radio Free Asia and South Korean media claimed Kim and his team were forced onto a stage at the People’s Palace of Culture in front of 400 government officials, students and journalists. Reports said the players were subjected to six hours of criticism for their performance at the World Cup, their first appearance since 1966.

Key players out for under pressure Reds

London: Captain Steven Gerrard and striker Fernando Torres are among the key players missing for Liverpool as the English side battles to make it into the group stage of the Europa League on Thursday. The five-time European champions head to Turkey for the second leg of its qualifying playoff against Trabzonspor protecting a 1-0 lead from the first match.

Ribery not to contest three-match ban

Paris: France midfielder Franck Ribery will not appeal the decision by the French Football Federation (FFF) to ban him for three matches for his role in the team’s World Cup revolt, the player’s lawyer said on Wednesday.

“Franck Ribery, even though he regards the sanction taken against him by the disciplinary commission (of the FFF) as unfounded and unfair, has decided not to appeal,” his lawyer, Jean-Didier Lange, said in a statement. Main accused Nicolas Anelka was banned for 18 France matches.