Win not enough for Liverpool
Five-times European Cup winners Liverpool came up just short as they crashed out of the Europa League on away goals at the hands of Russian outfit Zenit Saint Petersburg despite a 3-1 win at Anfield.sports Updated: Feb 23, 2013 02:44 IST
Five-times European Cup winners Liverpool came up just short as they crashed out of the Europa League on away goals at the hands of Russian outfit Zenit Saint Petersburg despite a 3-1 win at Anfield.
Two goals down from the first leg, Liverpool looked out for the count after veteran defender Jamie Carragher fluffed an attempted backpass and Brazilian Hulk slipped home the opener to make it 3-0 on aggregate for the visitors on Thursday.
But Liverpool roared back with two goals from Luis Suarez with Joe Allen netting another in between, but the extra goal would not come as Zenit reached the last 16.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was defiant, saying: "We may have lost the battle tonight, but in terms of the war and going forward we're very much winning."
Deposed European champions Chelsea had to settle for a home draw against Sparta Prague having won the away leg 1-0 after Eden Hazard's late effort cancelled out David Lafata's opener.
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.
Aside from Liverpool's anguish it was a successful night for the English contingent with a last-gasp goal from Mousa Dembele booking a last-16 berth for Tottenham, a superlative strike rescuing a 3-2 aggregate win over French hosts Lyon after a 1-1 draw.
Spurs, who now face Inter Milan, had won the opening encounter 2-1 but trailed for much of the match to a 17th-minute goal from Maxime Gonalons before Dembele struck.
Atletico knocked out
Holders Atletico Madrid were sent spinning out by Russian outsiders Rubin Kazan.
Atletico slumped to a shock 2-0 home defeat by Rubin in Madrid 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. Napoli, 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.
Lazio face ban
Lazio is concerned that UEFA will order it to play its next match in an empty stadium after three Borussia Moenchen-gladbach fans were stabbed ahead of Thursday's match.
Last month, UEFA deferred a Lazio stadium closure "for a probationary period of two years" following a series of cases of racist abuse by fans. Two of the stabbed Moenchengladbach fans were kept in the hospital, although without serious injuries.