Thursday, 4 October 2007

UC Round 1: Second Leg Review

Fiorentina were the only Italian survivors on a miserable night of UEFA Cup football that saw three Serie A sides dumped out. The Viola needed penalties to see off Groningen while Empoli, Palermo and Sampdoria all crashed out.

FC Zurich 3-0 Empoli

FC Zurich win 4-2 on aggregate
Empoli's season is going from bad to worse after being dumped out by FC Zurich following a 3-0 defeat in Switzerland. The Tuscan outfit, who have won only one of their six Serie A games to date, had entered the game with a historic 2-1 first leg lead. However, Sebastian Kollar's goal shortly before half-time put the Swiss outfit ahead on the away goals rule. Any hopes Empoli harboured of progressing disintegrated in the closing stages when Almen Abdi and Alexandre Alphonse put the tie beyond doubt. Gigi Cagni's men finished the contest a man light after Rincon was shown a red card for a reckless tackle with five minutes remaining.

Aalborg 0-0 Sampdoria

2-2 on aggregate, Aalborg win on away goals rule
Sampdoria made the European exit door after a goalless draw against Danish minnows Aalborg. The 2-2 first leg draw in Genoa ensured the Danes could adopt a conservative approach in the home leg, meaning Samp had to score against a spirited home defence. After failing to find the back of the net despite long periods of domination, the Blucerchiati are now left to focus on their Serie A campaign.

Palermo 0-1 Mlada Boleslav (AET)

1-1 on aggregate, Mlada win 4-2 on penalties
Palermo suffered a last minute equaliser and penalty shoot-out heartbreak as Mlada Boleslav progressed at the expense of the Sicilians. The Rosanero came into the second leg with a 1-0 lead after Bosko Jankovic's last-gasp strike in the Czech Republic, but Bolselav gave them a taste of their own medicine with a leveller in the dying seconds through Tomas Sedlacek. With no further goals in extra time the game went to a shoot-out. Edison Cavani failed with Palermo's first spot-kick, and a crucial miss by Fabio Caserta meant the Rosanero failed to draw level. Tomas Sedlacek scored the winning penalty to give the Czech side a 4-2 win.

Fiorentina 1-1 Groningen (AET)

2-2 on aggregate, Fiorentina win 4-3 on penalties
Fiorentina are the only Serie A side left in the UEFA Cup following a shoot-out success over Dutch outfit Groningen in a scintillating encounter in Florence. Erik Nevland gave the visitors a surprise lead early in the second half, but it did not last as Adrian Mutu equalised to ensure extra time. With no further goals forthcoming it was Fiorentina who held their nerve to win the the penalty shoot-out 4-3 with Mutu making no mistake with the final spot-kick and ensuring Italy has a representative in the group stages of the competition.

The draw for the Group Stage of the UEFA Cup will be made at UEFA headquarters in Nyon on Tuesday, 9 October, at 1100 UK time (1200 CET).


[First Leg] - [Second Leg]

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