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Manchester City ease into last 32

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by AFP

Latest update : 2008-11-28

Manchester City assured their place in the last 16 of the UEFA Cup with a comfortable win over Schalke 04. Meanwhile, struggling French side St Etienne are surprising qualifiers and AC Milan also neared the next stage.

AC Milan's veteran Italian striker Filippo Inzhagi grabbed his 65th career European goal to dent Portsmouth's UEFA Cup ambitions on Thursday as Manchester City and Tottenham eased to victory.
   
Portsmouth, in their first season of European football, were cruising at 2-0 in their Group E clash after goals from Younes Kaboul and Kanu.
   
But substitute Ronaldinho pulled one back with a fabulous free-kick before poacher Inzaghi struck to put Milan, who have seven points, into the knockout stages and stun the Fratton Park crowd.
   
Manchester City made it two wins out of two in Group A with an assured 2-0 victory over Germany's Schalke 04 in Gelksenkirchen which followed their opening 3-2 victory against FC Twente.
   
Paris Saint Germain's 2-2 draw with Racing Santander in the same pool meant Mark Hughes's City are assured of a place in the next round.
   
City took the lead on the half-hour mark when Daniel Sturridge's cross-cum-shot was sidefooted home at the far post by Zimbabwean striker Benjani Mwaruwari to stun the majority of the 60,000-strong crowd.
   
In-form midfielder Stephen Ireland coolly tucked away the second in the 65th minute.
   
The result follows City's convincing 3-0 victory at home to Arsenal at the weekend, and Hughes feels his side are in fine fettle ahead of Sunday's derby meeting with Manchester United.
   
"It's been a great week," he said. "It started off very well, beating Arsenal, and we've carried on with a great performance here and that leads us very nicely into a certain game at the weekend."
   
Tottenham enjoyed a 1-0 win at Dutch side NEC Nijmegen with Jamie O'Hara's 14th-minute header proving the clincher after Fraizer Campbell had hit the bar.
   
Harry Redknapp's side now have six points from three Group D games, which should be enough to get them through.
   
"It was difficult. The pitch wasn't particularly good," said Redknapp.
   
"It was difficult to really pass the ball but we were strong and solid and I never felt in any danger. Six points is job done."
   
In Group H, CSKA Moscow beat Lech Poznan of Poland 2-1 to make sure of their place in the knockout stages.
   
Alan Dzagoev and Yuri Zhirkov's first-half goals secured CSKA's third successive win with Semir Stilic hitting a late consolation.
   
In Group G, French side St Etienne also reached the last 32 after a 1-1 draw with Belgian league leaders Bruges, but the match was overshadowed by fighting between the two sets of fans in the Belgian city.
   
The top three teams in each of the eight groups go through to the knockout stage where they will be joined by the eight third-place finishers from the opening round of the Champions League.

Date created : 2008-11-27

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