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Eto'o helps Anzhi into Europa League knockout stage

Friday, 23 November 2012 - 7:55am IST | Agency: Reuters
Cameroon forward Samuel Eto'o scored to help ambitious Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala beat Udinese 2-0 and reach the Europa League knockout stages on Thursday, eliminating the Italians in the process.

Cameroon forward Samuel Eto'o scored to help ambitious Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala beat Udinese 2-0 and reach the Europa League knockout stages on Thursday, eliminating the Italians in the process.

Last season's runners-up Athletic Bilbao, whose game in Israel against fellow Group I side Hapoel Kiryat Shmona was postponed for security reasons, were knocked out without playing while Lazio, Sparta Prague and Genk went through.

Christopher Samba and Eto'o scored in a three-minute spell in the second half to steer Guus Hiddink's Anzhi team into the last 32. Samba headed in from a corner and former Barcelona and Inter Milan forward Eto'o raced clear of the Udinese defence before slotting the ball past Zeljko Brkic, ending an unhappy European campaign for the Serie A side who missed out on the Champions League after losing on penalties to Braga.

The Group A match was played in Moscow after UEFA refused to let Anzhi stage matches in the violence-plagued Dagestan region for security reasons. A goalless draw at home to Tottenham Hotspur was enough to send Lazio through from Group J in a game where former England midfielder Paul Gascoigne, who played for both clubs, was a guest of honour.

Lazio president Claudio Lotito paraded Gascoigne around the pitch and fans held a huge banner with his photograph. Violence against Spurs fans in Rome in the runup to the game had dominated headlines.

Panathinaikos striker Vitolo, who missed a penalty then converted another within 13 minutes of the first attempt, gave the Greek side a 1-0 win over Maribor to keep them in contention in the same group. Sparta Prague's 1-1 draw at home to Olympique Lyon in Group I sent them through alongside the already-qualified Ligue 1 outfit, but the result meant elimination for Marcelo Bielsa's Athletic.

Steve McLaren's Twente Enschede were also knocked out after being held to a scoreless draw by Hanover 96. Elyaniv Barda's first-half header gave Genk a 1-0 win at Videoton as the Belgians progressed from Group G into the round of 32.

(Reporting by Brian Homewood; Editing by Mark Pangallo)




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