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Milan Tumbles Out Of UEFA Cup

AC Milan were dumped out of the UEFA Cup after throwing away a two-goal lead in their last-32 second-leg clash with Werder Bremen. Having drawn the first leg 1-1 in Germany, there was some pressure on the Italians going into the return match. First-half goals from Andrea Pirlo and Alexandre Pato seemed to set Milan on a smooth path into the next round only for Claudio Pizarro’s brace to put Bremen through on away goals.

Bremen will face St Etienne in the next round after Les Verts progressed with a 5-2 aggregate victory over Greek champions Olympiacos. Superb long-range strikes from Dimitri Payet and Ilan gave St Etienne a two-goal lead at the Stade Geoffroy Guichard before Oscar struck a late consolation for the Greeks in a 2-1 loss on the night.

Ajax substitute Leonardo scored a late equaliser to earn Marco van Basten’s side a 1-1 draw against Fiorentina – a 2-1 triumph overall. The Viola went ahead through Alberto Gilardino’s second-half strike and the match looked to be heading into extra-time before Leonardo snatched a deciding goal. Next up for the Amsterdammers is a last-16 clash with Marseille, who advanced thanks to a dramatic 7-6 win on penalties after their tie against FC Twente had finished 1-1 over two legs.

The French side’s tenacity paid off when Hatem Ben Arfa levelled the aggregate scores in the 24th minute but, when neither side found a winner, it took 16 penalties to settle the tie with Modeste M’Bami converting the winning kick.

A Jerome Rothen strike and two from Peguy Luyindula were enough to see Paris St Germain through 5-1 on aggregate – 3-1 on the night – against Wolfsburg at the VW Arena. Makoto Hasebe pulled one back for the Wolves in the second period but it did little to mask the one-sided nature of the tie.

Braga eased through to a last-16 meeting with PSG after holding Standard Liege to a 1-1 draw in Belgium to progress 4-1 on aggregate. Trailing 3-0 from the first leg, the hosts worked hard in their search for goals but their only breakthrough came from Dieudonne Mbokani 11 minutes from time, and that was swiftly cancelled out by Luis Aguiar.

Manchester City’s next opponents will be Danish side AaB Aalborg, who cruised through after blitzing Deportivo La Coruna with three goals in four first-half minutes to secure a convincing 6-1 aggregate win. Trailing 3-0 from the first leg, the miracle looked on when Sergio’s deflected shot put Depor ahead in the 38th minute.

However, within seven minutes of that strike the tie had been well and truly settled as AaB netted quickfire goals through Luton Shelton, Andres Johansson and Thomas Enevoldsen to seal a 3-1 win. Second-half goals from Simone Pepe and Antonio Di Natale helped Udinese come from a goal down to defeat Lech Poznan 2-1 and advance 4-3 overall.

The Serie A outfit will face Zenit St Petersburg in the next round after the defending champions beat Stuttgart 2-1 for the second week running. Viktor Fayzulin and Igor Semshov were the men on target for Zenit, either side of a Timo Gebhart strike for the Bundesliga team.

Artem Kravets hit a brace as Dynamo Kiev drew 2-2 at Valencia to advance 3-3 on away goals. Kravets got the visitors off to a dream start with a 34th-minute opener. Goals from Carlos Marchena and Asier Del Horno swung the match back in the Spanish side’s favour, but Kravets had the final word, claiming a crucial second goal for Dynamo after 73 minutes to set up an all-Ukrainian tie with Metalist Kharkiv.

Sergey Valyaev and Jackson Coelho netted as Metalist booked their place in the next round with a 2-0 win over Sampdoria, 3-0 overall. 

Hamburg cemented their progress with a 1-0 home victory against NEC Nijmegen. Ivica Olic’s early goal made absolutely sure of the result following a 3-0 win in Holland for Martin Jol’s team last week. The Bundesliga side will face Galatasaray in the last 16 after Sabri Sarioglu slammed home a last-minute winner for the Turkish side at the expense of Bordeaux.

Gala looked like they were going out on away goals when Bordeaux scored twice in the space of a minute, through Marouane Chamakh and Fernando Cavenaghi, to draw level at 3-3 with a quarter of an hour remaining. But Turkey full-back Sabri smashed a low 20-yard shot into the corner with seconds remaining to settle an amazing tie. The game had started at breakneck speed, David Bellion opening the scoring after only 11 seconds for Les Girondins, but Gala recovered superbly and goals from Arda Turan (two) and Harry Kewell put them in the ascendancy.

Craig Bellamy’s two goals means Manchester City are the only English team in the last 16 of the UEFA Cup as they beat FC Copenhagen 2-1 on the night and 4-3 on aggregate. The striker got both goals in the space of seven second-half minutes as City booked a clash with Aalborg.

Aston Villa crashed out after a 2-0 defeat at CSKA Moscow saw them eliminated 3-1 on aggregate. Meanwhile Giovani dos Santos’ stunning strike against Shakhtar Donetsk was not enough to prevent Tottenham’s second string from joining Villa in exiting the competition as they drew 1-1 to go out 3-1 on aggregate.

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