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Rediff.com  » Sports » Europa League: Fulham, Liverpool through; Villa 'trick spurs Valencia

Europa League: Fulham, Liverpool through; Villa 'trick spurs Valencia

Last updated on: March 19, 2010 14:29 IST

Unfashionable Premier League side Fulham knocked favourites Juventus out of the Europa League after an astonishing 4-1 win over the Italians who finished the last 16 second-leg game with nine men on Thursday.

Zoltan Gera of Fulham is cock-a-hoop after scoring against JuveItaly's 2006 World Cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro was sent off after less than half an hour for the twice European champions and three-times UEFA Cup winners, who went out despite a 3-1 first-leg lead and second minute goal at Craven Cottage.

It was the second time this season Juve have gone out of European competition with a 4-1 defeat after they lost at home to Bayern Munich in their final Champions League group match by the same score.

Prolific World Cup-bound Spain striker David Villa scored a hat-trick for Valencia in their 4-4 draw at Werder Bremen to go through on away goals as the drama continued in a competition usually derided as the poor cousin of the Champions League.

It did not stop there as Benfica scored twice in the last 15 minutes to win 2-1 at Olympique Marseille and qualify for the quarter-finals while Anderlecht beat Hamburg SV 4-3, only to lose 6-5 on aggregate.

Liverpool, trailing 1-0 from the first leg, kept their campaign alive by beating Lille 3-0 at Anfield. Captain Steven Gerrard scored a ninth-minute penalty and Fernando Torres added two more in the second half.

HARSH DISMISSAL

David Trezeguet's early opener put Juventus ahead against Fulham Craven Cottage but Bobby Zamora replied quickly and the Italians unravelled after Cannavaro was harshly dismissed for bringing down Zoltan Gera.

Gera scored either side of halftime before a brilliant chip by substitute Clint Dempsey seven minutes from time sent the London side into their first European quarter-final with a 5-4 aggregate win that ended Juve's hopes of silverware this season.

"It was a fantastic team performance. Their goalkeeper made four outstanding saves," Fulham manager Roy Hodgson told ESPN.

"Beating Juve is something special. I'm sure every one of them (Fulham fans) will remember this night for some time to come."

Valencia, held 1-1 at home by Bremen, were 2-0 ahead in 15 minutes with goals by David Villa and Juan Mata.

Werder managed 27 shots on target but every time they got on the scoresheet Villa stopped the recovery in its tracks.

Hugo Almeida pulled one back for the Germans only for Villa to score again on the stroke of halftime.

Torsten Frings, with a penalty, and Marko Marin scored twice in five minutes to make it 3-3 with nearly half an hour still to play, but Villa put Valencia ahead again almost immediately.

The Spaniards held on for a 5-5 aggregate draw despite Peru forward Claudio Pizarro's late equaliser.

LATE WINNER

Benfica, held 1-1 at home by Olympique Marseille in the first leg, went behind to a Mamadou Niang volley in the 70th minute.

But the Portuguese side deservedly levelled four minutes later when Argentine Maxi Pereira exploited a blunder by the Marseille defence.

Brazilian Alan Kardec scored a last-gasp winner for Benfica leading to confusion in which the scorer was yellow-carded for a shirtless celebration and Marseille winger Hatem Ben Arfa, who had only just come on, was dismissed for kicking Javi Garcia.

Argentine forward Sergio Aguero scored twice in a four-goal first half as Atletico Madrid drew 2-2 at Sporting to progress on away goals after a scoreless first leg.

Anderlecht's 16-year-old forward Romelo Lukaku was among the scorers in Brussels where the home side, 3-1 down from the first leg in Hamburg, fell behind but hit back to lead 4-2 until their hopes were extinguished by Mladen Petric's 75th minute strike.

Standard Liege kept Belgian interest in the competition alive after a 1-0 victory over Panathinaikos with a Dieudonne Mbokani goal completed a 4-1 aggregate win over the Greek side.

Wolfsburg completed the evening's action by scoring in the last minute of extra time with a Christian Gentner goal to beat Rubin Kazan 2-1 and win 3-2 on aggregate.

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