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16.12.2010 International

Liverpool draw blank at home to Utretcht

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Liverpool signed off from the first round of the Europa League with a dull 0-0 draw against FC Utrecht at Anfield but go through to the knockout phase as Group K winners. Despite suggesting striker Fernando Torres would be involved, having already secured their progress into the knock-out stages, Hodgson opted for a young side, with Brad Jones replacing Pepe Reina in goal and Nathan Eccleston starting up front alongside Milan Jovanovic and Ryan Babel.

Liverpool started strongly and Jovanovic broke through and clattered the bar after a fierce long-range effort, but it was to be a rare opportunity for either side.

Joe Cole had the chance to snatch a late win for the Reds, but his close-range effort was well blocked by Sander Keller after keeper Michel Vorm had spilled Aurelio's cross.

An injury-time goal from Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani gave Napoli a 1-0 win at home against Steaua Bucharest and ensured the Italian side join Liverpool in the next round, as Group K runners up.

Steaua thought they had succeeded in holding Napoli to a draw at the Stadio San Paolo which would have been good enough for them to progress but Cavani had the last say deep in injury time.

If Napoli had failed to qualify, it would have been the first time this century that no Italian club had reached the last 32 in UEFA Cup or Europa League.

Paris St Germain secured top spot in Group J as Karpaty Lviv finally claimed their first point of this year's Europa League thanks to a 1-1 draw. Peguy Luyindula put the visitors ahead after 39 minutes at a freezing cold Ukrayina Stadion but Artem Fedetskiy levelled matters on the stroke of half-time.

While PSG coasted through, group runners-up Sevilla were made to sweat at Borussia Dortmund, holding on for a 2-2 draw to send them through as the German hosts needed a win to progress.

Sevilla, UEFA Cup winners in 2006 and 2007, came into the game on the back of five successive defeats and they suffered a nightmare start as they went behind inside four minutes to a goal from Shinji Kagawa.

However, Gregorio Manzano's men hit back with quickfire goals from Ndri Romaric and Frederic Kanoute, and although runaway Bundesliga leaders Dortmund drew level in the 49th minute through Neven Subotic, it was not enough.

Giuseppe Rossi struck twice as Villarreal fought back from a goal down to defeat Club Brugge 2-1 and secure top spot in Group D.

Brugge took the lead through Dorge Kouemaha's 28th-minute diving header, but within six minutes Rossi equalised and then netted from the penalty spot after he had been barged over inside the area by Ryan Donk.

Dimitris Salpingidis' second-half goal sent PAOK Salonika through as runners-up in Group D with a 1-0 victory away to Dinamo Zagreb.

Kolbeinn Sigthorsson scored twice and Adam Maher also netted as AZ Alkmaar made sure BATE Borisov finished the group stage on a low.

Belarusian champions BATE were already qualified for the next stage going into their final fixture in Group E but lost 3-0 to AZ, who could not qualify, as Sigthorsson scored with six minutes gone and six minutes remaining before Maher added a third.

Dynamo Kiev secured top spot in the group after a 0-0 draw at home to Moldovan side FC Sheriff.

CSKA Moscow relinquished their 100% record in the competition but it hardly mattered to the Group F winners as they drew 1-1 away to Sparta Prague. Alan Dzagoev gave CSKA an early lead, but Sparta found a leveller before half-time from Vaclav Kadlec - and the hosts hit the post at the death.

Palermo substitute Ezequiel Munoz scored the only goal in the 1-0 away win over Lausanne who made it six straight defeats in the group as both sides went out of the competition.

Portuguese giants Porto completed the first stage of their Europa League mission with a fifth victory from six matches. Nicolas Otamendi, Micael and James Rodriguez scored as the Group L winners won 3-1 against CSKA Sofia whose goal came from Spas Delev.

Besiktas claimed a routine 2-0 victory over Rapid Vienna. First-half goals from Ricardo Quaresma and Fabian Ernst secured the points for the hosts, who finished second, 10 points clear of Rapid in third.

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