Thursday, 6 August 2009

[UEL] Roma reach play-offs

Francesco Totti inspired Roma to a 7-1 win over Gent with a hat-trick to progress to the UEFA Europa League play-off round with a 10-2 aggregate win.

Gent 1-7 RomaLeading 3-1 from the first leg in Rome last week, the Giallorossi dominated the return against their Belgian opponents from start to finish.

Luciano Spalletti's side will now join Genoa and city rivals Lazio in Friday's draw for the final qualifying stage before the group phase begins.

Totti opened the scoring for Roma with a fierce right-foot free kick on the half-hour mark before the hosts were reduced to 10 men as defender Marko Suler was booked twice in quick succession before the half-time interval.

The floodgates opened in the second half as Totti extended the advantage 11 minutes in with a tap in, before the captain turned provider two minutes later for Daniele De Rossi.

The inspirational Totti completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot on the hour mark, followed soon after by De Rossi's second of the night.

Gent did score a late consolation through Tim Smolders but Jeremy Menez and Stefano Okaka completed the rout.

Roma, along with Serie A compatriots Genoa and Lazio, will now be awaiting Friday's play-off draw in Nyon.

The capital duo will both be seeded for the draw as Roma will be paired up with one of Metallurh Donetsk (from Ukraine), Dinamo Moscow (Russia), Genk (Belgium), Kosice (Slovakia) or Qarabag (Azerbaijan).

Coppa Italia winners Lazio will be up against either Trabzonspor (Turkey), Zilina (Slovakia), Elfsborg (Sweden), Bnei Yehuda Tel-Aviv (Israel) or Baki (Azerbaijan).

Genoa, returning to European competition for the first time since their semi-final UEFA Cup appearance in 1992, are unseeded and therefore have a potentially difficult tie against Zenit St Petersburg (Russia), Steaua Bucharest (Romania), Sparta Prague (Czech Republic), Aston Villa (England) or Odense (Denmark).

The play-off ties are to be played over two legs on 20 and 27 August.

Meanwhile, the draw for the play-off round of the UEFA Champions League will also be held on Friday, with Fiorentina awaiting their qualifying opponent.

La Viola, who finished fourth in Serie A last term, are unseeded for the draw and will have to overcome a tricky tie if they are to join Inter, Juventus and AC Milan in the group stage. As a non-champion in UEFA's new qualifying format, they will be up against either Arsenal (England), Lyon (France), Sporting Lisbon (Portugal), Panathinaikos (Greece) or Stuttgart (Germany).

The Champions League play-offs are to be played over two legs on 18/19 and 25/26 August.

UEFA Europa League 2009-10
Third Qualifying Round
Thursday 30 July
Roma 3-1 Gent
Thursday 6 August
Gent 1-7 Roma (Agg: 2-10)

[Full Results]

Source: UEFA

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