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Tottenham Hotspur cruised into the group stages of the Champions League as a Peter Crouch hat-trick inspired them to a 4-0 win over Young Boys, and a 6-3 victory on aggregate. Meanwhile, Auxerre overcame Zenit St Petersburg and Ajax defeated Dynamo Kiev.

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Tottenham were 3-0 down inside 30 minutes in Switzerland before mounting a partial comeback, but they were never in any danger in the return leg at White Hart Lane.

Crouch opened the scoring when heading home from a Gareth Bale cross before Jermain Defoe scored a controversial second, as he appeared to handle a pass from the Welshman before finishing. The influential Bale set up Crouch for a second header before winning a penalty, allowing the striker to claim a hat-trick.

Zenit St Petersburg approached their second leg in France with a 1-0 advantage but succumbed to a hugely disappointing 2-0 defeat at the hands of Auxerre. Cedric Hengbart (9) and Ireneusz Jelen (52) scored for the home side and Zenit were reduced to nine men following the dismissals of Viacheslav Malafeev and Tomas Hubocan.

In Amsterdam, Ajax secured their place in the group stages courtesy of a 3-2 aggregate victory over Dynamo Kiev. After a 1-1 draw in the first leg, goals from Luis Suarez and Mounir El Hamdaoui sealed victory for the four-time European champions, despite a late penalty from Dynamo's veteran striker Andriy Shevchenko.

Slovakian champions MSK Zilina will compete in the group stages for the first time in their history after beating Sparta Prague 3-0 on aggregate. Leading 2-0 after the first leg, Momodou Ceesay scored after 18 minutes to cement their victory. To add insult to injury for Sparta, Jiri Kladrubsky missed a second-half penalty.

A Solvi Ottesen goal after 33 minutes was enough for FC Copenhagen to advance on away goals after a 2-2 aggregate draw with Rosenborg.


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