UEFA Cup round-up: Hamburg, Aston Villa and Ajax qualify; Portsmouth out | inside World Soccer

UEFA Cup round-up: Hamburg, Aston Villa and Ajax qualify; Portsmouth out

Friday, December 5, 2008

Former European Cup winners Hamburg, Aston Villa and Ajax all booked their places in the knockout stages of the UEFA Cup from the same group, while FA Cup winners Portsmouth failed to qualify from Group E.

It was a horrendous blunder from goalkeeper David James which allowed Wolfsburg to beat Portsmouth 3-2 and advance to the knockout stages.

Wolfsburg went ahead in third minute when Edin Džeko latched onto a cross from Christian Gentner.

But the visitors hit back within three minutes to take a 2-1 lead with goals from Jermain Defoe and Arnold Mvuemba.

Gentner drew Wolfsburg level less than ten minutes later when he fired home from long range.

And Zvjezdan Misimović sealed the victory after he robbed James, who has a history of costly errors, of the ball and rolled it into an unguarded net in the 74th minute.

At Villa Park, Aston Villa, the 1982 European Cup champions, qualified for the last 32 despite a 2-1 home loss to MŠK Žilina.

Žilina scored two goals early at Villa Park when Vladimir Leitner launched in a cross from the left that creeped inside the far post, and Peter Styvar added a second after a great passing move in the 19th minute.

Seventeen-year-old Nathan Delfouneso, on his full debut for the hosts, got one back in the 28th minute.

Despite the defeat, Martin O'Neill's side have qualified for the knock-out stages after Hamburg's 2-0 victory at Slavia Prague.

Goals by Croatian duo Ivica Olić in the 30th minute and Mladen Petrić in the 90th gave Hamburg top spot in Group F.

Hamburg has six points from three matches to qualify for the knockout round, while four-time European champions Ajax also has six points and advanced without playing.

Others scorline in UEFA Cup on Thursday:
Valencia1-1Club Brugge
Lech Poznan1-1Deportivo La Coruna
Nancy3-4CSKA Moscow

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