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Liverpool, Inter resist rise of the underdogs

Published: Thursday 30 August 2012, 23.31CET
FC Internazionale Milano and Liverpool FC both survived scares to book places in the UEFA Europa League group stage where they will be joined by a raft of less illustrious sides.

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Published: Thursday 30 August 2012, 23.31CET

Liverpool, Inter resist rise of the underdogs

FC Internazionale Milano and Liverpool FC both survived scares to book places in the UEFA Europa League group stage where they will be joined by a raft of less illustrious sides.

Some of European football's most revered names will grace the UEFA Europa League group stage after winning their play-off ties, but a host of less illustrious sides will be there right alongside them after also rising to the occasion.

View all of Thursday's play-off second leg results here.

PSV Eindhoven recorded a resounding 9-0 success at home to FK Zeta with Georginio Wijnaldum and Tim Matavž both grabbing hat-tricks to complete a 14-0 aggregate success. Compatriots Feyenoord were less successful, however, following up a first-leg draw with a 2-0 loss at AC Sparta Praha, while FC Anji Makhachkala sealed the fate of another Dutch side by posting an eye-catching 5-0 triumph at AZ Alkmaar. FC Twente ended the night on a more positive note for the Netherlands as they overhauled a 4-1 deficit to prevail 5-4 in extra time against Bursaspor.

PFC CSKA Moskva will not feature in the group stage of a major European competition for the first time since 2004 after AIK Solna recovered from their 1-0 first-leg loss to win 2-0 in Russia. As for APOEL FC, they defied the odds in last season's UEFA Champions League but fell prey to a giant-killing feat themselves this time around. After drawing 1-1 in the opening salvo, Neftçi PFK emerged as 3-1 winners in Cyprus to become Azerbaijan's first representatives in an elite European competition.

FC Vaslui had reason to believe they could conjure a miracle when FC Internazionale Milano lost goalkeeper Luca Castellazzi to a red card on 33 minutes and the Romanian club's captain Nicolae Stanciu converted the resulting penalty. Vaslui twice surrendered a lead, however, departing San Siro with a creditable 2-2 draw but a 4-2 aggregate loss. Heart of Midlothian FC came closer to upsetting the odds at Anfield, meanwhile, although David Templeton's 85th-minute opener was cancelled out by Luis Suárez three minutes later as Liverpool FC went through.

S.S. Lazio progressed following a 3-1 victory against ND Mura 05, while Newcastle United FC nudged past Atromitos FC 2-1 on aggregate. Hannover 96 flexed their goalscoring muscles to sweep aside WKS Śląsk Wrocław 5-1 – and 10-4 overall – and last season's competition runners-up Athletic Club were held to a 3-3 draw at HJK Helsinki after triumphing 6-0 in Bilbao.

Fanis Gekas's second-half strike consolidated Levante's UD advantage over Motherwell FC and ensured the Liga side will feature in the UEFA Europa League group stage for the first time in their history. Also through are 2011/12 quarter-finalists FC Metalist Kharkiv, who will take their place following a comfortable 4-1 aggregate success versus FC Dinamo Bucureşti, while Sporting Clube de Portugal responded to a first-leg stalemate by firing five past AC Horsens.

Tonight's winners will join the ten defeated sides from the UEFA Champions League play-offs and the seven who have already qualified in the 48-team group stage. The draw for the group stage, which starts on 20 September, is scheduled for Friday at 13.00CET.

Last updated: 05/12/13 3.02CET

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