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Aug 26, 2010

Liverpool revival, Man City stroll

Roy Hodgson's Liverpool were pushed to the limit before booking their place in the UEFA Europa League group stages with a 2-1 win over Trabzonspor in Turkey.

• Europa League gallery

Liverpool beat Trabzonspor

The Reds saw their 1-0 first leg lead wiped out after just five minutes when Teofilo Gutierrez scored for the home side and had to wait until seven minutes from time to confirm their passage. Home defender Remzi Kacar put through his own net and Dirk Kuyt fired the winner in the 88th minute to put some gloss on a testing two legs for Hodgson's men.

Manchester City achieved their goal of reaching the group stages of the Europa League with the minimum of fuss, beating Timisoara 2-0. Holding a 1-0 advantage from the first leg of the play-off in Romania they coasted through in front of their own fans. Shaun-Wright Phillips made the breakthrough and Dedryk Boyata extended their lead with his first goal for the club.

Aston Villa crashed out of the Europa League at the final qualifying hurdle against Rapid Vienna for the second successive season, losing 3-2, despite twice being in front. Gabriel Agbonlahor and Emile Heskey netted for Villa but Rapid refused to buckle and goals from Atdhe Nuhiu, Mario Sonnleitner and Rene Gartler stunned the near 30,000 crowd.

Celtic crashed out on a night to forget for the Scottish teams as Utrecht ran riot 4-0 after staging a remarkable comeback in the tie.

Goals from Efrain Juarez and Georgios Samaras in the first leg at Parkhead were wiped out in a devastating seven-minute spell which saw Ricky van Wolfswinkel net twice from the penalty spot before completing his hat-trick early in the second half. Barry Maguire then completed the rout, with the result ensuring Celtic's dismal away record in Europe continued, with just one win in 28 games on the road.

Motherwell squandered a host of chances as their dreams evaporated with a 1-0 defeat against nine-man Odense at Fir Park. Peter Utaka claimed the only goal in the 28th minute with the Danish side's only real opportunity of the second leg but Motherwell's failing came at the other end as they missed a hatful of chances.

Dundee United claimed a 1-1 creditable draw against AEK Athens but slipped out of Europe after a 2-1 aggregate loss. Debutant Papa Bouba Diop scored the opening goal and it looked as if United's hopes were over, but substitute Jon Daly came off the bench to net a goal which gave them hope of progressing. Despite their endeavour, though, it was not to be.

Welsh minnows TNS fought valiantly to secure a second-leg 2-2 draw against CSKA Sofia despite failing to progress. TNS had suffered a comprehensive 3-0 defeat in the first leg in Bulgaria and had little realistic hope of overturning the deficit on home turf.

Galatasaray were arguably the night's biggest casualties as they went out 1-1 (3-3) on away goals to Karpaty in the Ukraine. Karpaty, who ended the game with nine men, grabbed their equaliser in the last minute through Artem Fedetskiy.

Juventus picked up a narrow 1-0 win over Sturm Graz in Turin thanks to a goal from Alessandro Del Piero. The veteran striker curled a wonderful shot into the far corner to give his side the win, although the Italian side were already ahead 2-1 from the first leg.

Dutch side PSV Eindhoven eased through as they wiped out a 1-0 first leg deficit to Sibir Novosibirsk with a crushing 5-0 win in Holland capped by two late goals from Balasz Dzsudzsak.

Sporting Lisbon scored a more dramatic come-from-behind win over Brondby in Denmark. Trailing 2-0 from their home leg, Sporting stormed to a 3-0 win with goals from Evaldo, Nuno Coelho and Yannick Djalo in injury time.

Former European champions Steaua Bucharest needed penalties to dispose of Grasshopper after a 1-0 defeat on the night in Switzerland.

• Get all the scores from the Europa League by clicking here

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