Eto'o on target as Anzhi reach Europa last 32
PARIS (AFP) –
Cameroon striker and three-time Champions League winner Samuel Eto’o was on target on Thursday as Russia’s Anzhi Makhachkala moved into the Europa League knockout round with a 2-0 win over Italy’s Udinese.
Italy’s Lazio joined Anzhi in the next phase with a goalless home draw with Tottenham at the Olympic Stadium in Rome, leaving Spurs needing a draw from their final Group J game at home to Panathanaikos to advance.
Former England star Paul Gascoigne, who played for both clubs with distinction, was close to tears as he received an ovation on attending the game in the Italian capital.
Lazio fans hailed him as a “lionheart” and “still our hero” on his return to the city where he spent three seasons.
The 45-year-old Gascoigne donned a light blue-and-white scarf, the colours of Lazio, as he was presented to the crowd, who unfurled banners one of which read: “Welcome back Gazza. Lionheart, headstrong, pure talent, real man: still our hero.”
Gascoigne, who has endured a widely-publicised battle with alcoholism, had three years with the Italians after a four-year spell at White Hart Lane fans of Tottenham where he played from 1988 until 1992.
The occasion was marred, however, when a Spurs fan was reported to have been stabbed after suspected hardline fans of Lazio converged on a bar.
The incident underscored Rome’s reputation as a dangerous venue for English fans.
Liverpool supporters were stabbed after a European Cup final win against AS Roma in 1984. Fans from Liverpool, Middlesbrough and Manchester United have since been attacked by hardcore “ultras” from Rome’s two Serie A clubs AS Roma and Lazio.
Lazio president Claudio Lotito condemned the attacks but said he would make no further comment until the facts had been established.
“These kinds of acts must always be condemned but from the information we currently have it is not clear this assault is the work of Lazio fans,” he was quoted as saying.
Police reportedly detained six of the estimated 40 assailants.
Meanwhile, the club where Gascoigne started out, Newcastle, were hoping to join Lazio in the knockout phase with a win over Portugal’s Maritimo while five-times continental kings Liverpool knew a home win over Swiss side Young Boys would take them through from Group A.
Liverpool coach Brendan Rodgers rang the changes, leaving Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard on the bench for the encounter.
But he did field keeper Pepe Reina for the Spaniard’s 81st European appearance for the club taking him just ahead of legendary former keeper Ray Clemence.
Three other sides from the early matches made it through to the last 32 with Czech outfit Sparta Prague through alongside Group I rivals Lyon following their 1-1 stalemate.
Spain’s Levante progressed from Group L after winning 3-1 at Sweden’s Helsingborgs and Belgium’s Genk are also into the hat following a 1-0 success over Hungary’s Videoton.
The match between Israel’s Hapoel Kiryat Shmona and last year’s runners-up Athletic Bilbao in Lyon’s group was postponed due to safety fears owing to the current unrest in the Middle East.