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Schalke win dashes Italian hopes

Published: Thursday 16 March 2006, 22.15CET
FC Schalke 04 3-0 US Città di Palermo (agg: 3-1) A spot-kick and a red card just before half-time helped end Italy's involvement in the UEFA Cup.
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Published: Thursday 16 March 2006, 22.15CET

Schalke win dashes Italian hopes

FC Schalke 04 3-0 US Città di Palermo (agg: 3-1) A spot-kick and a red card just before half-time helped end Italy's involvement in the UEFA Cup.

Goals from Levan Kobiashvili, Søren Larsen and Mimoun Azaouagh ended Italy's involvement in the 2005/06 UEFA Cup as FC Schalke 04 overturned a 1-0 deficit with a 3-0 win in the second leg of their last-16 tie against US Città di Palermo.

Double blow
The writing was on the wall for the Italian side just before the half-time whistle as Eugenio Corini was dismissed for blocking Larsen's goal-bound shot with his hands on the goalline, and once Georgian international Kobiashvili had scored the resulting penalty, the Sicilian team's hopes of a place in the last eight looked forlorn.

Larsen scores
Nonetheless, the Serie A side made their hosts work for their victory. Argentinian goalkeeper Mariano Andujar produced fine saves to deny Zlatan Bajramović, Mladen Krstajić and Larsen, and it was not until the 72nd minute that the Danish striker managed to double Schalke's advantage, racing through to head in Gerald Asamoah's right-wing cross.

Resistance broken
With the visitors' resistance broken, the 1996/97 UEFA Cup winners pressed home their numerical advantage eight minutes later. Asamoah was the architect again, dropping a cross into the penalty area which Azaouagh converted with a low right-foot shot.

Determined start
As expected, Schalke had started the game in determined mood and Palermo defender Christian Terlizzi had to be aware early on to block an early drive from Christian Poulsen. The Italian side replied with an early strike of their own as Massimo Mutarelli's long-distance bullet whizzed over the crossbar, but the home side took control from then on.

Italian exits
With AS Roma bowing out against Middlesbrough FC on Wednesday night and Udinese Calcio losing their tie against PFC Levski Sofia earlier on Thursday evening, Palermo's defeat ended Italian sides' involvement in the UEFA Cup. Now it is down to AC Milan, FC Internazionale Milano and Juventus to defend Serie A's European honour in the UEFA Champions League.

Last updated: 17/03/06 11.42CET

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