Deportivo down Nancy to reach next stage
Spain's Deportivo La Coruna edged past France's Nancy 1-0 to secure qualification to the knockout stages of the UEFA Cup. In a game between two already qualified sides, St Etienne drew 2-2 at home to Valencia to top Group G.
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REUTERS - UEFA Cup favourites AC Milan missed the chance to progress to the knockout stages as group winners when a late Mahir Saglik equaliser handed VfL Wolfsburg a 2-2 draw at the San Siro on Wednesday.
As Group E's top side, Wolfsburg are guaranteed a tie against a third-placed side from another group in Friday's last 32 draw while seven-times European champions Milan must face a third-placed finisher from the Champions League group stage.
Former European champions Hamburg SV secured top spot in Group F as Martin Jol's Bundesliga side eased past Aston Villa 3-1. Croatia forward Mladen Petric scored his fifth goal of the competition and compatriot Ivica Olic added two more.
In a game between two already qualified sides, St Etienne continued to belie their poor domestic form when the Ligue 1 strugglers drew 2-2 at home to Valencia to top Group G.
FC Copenhagen, Deportivo Coruna and Lech Poznan picked up the evening's three qualifying places on offer.
The Danish side won 1-0 at Club Bruges in a shootout for the final spot in Group G while Lech's 1-0 win at twice-winners Feyenoord and Depor's success by the same margin at home to Nancy saw them join CSKA Moscow as Group H qualifiers.
In Milan, Italy midfielder Massimo Ambrosini headed the home side ahead in the 17th minute and Brazil forward Alexandre Pato put Carlo Ancelotti's men 2-1 in front seconds after Cristian Zaccardo equalised early in the second period.
The Serie A side looked to be heading for a favourable tie in February's first knockout round until Turkish striker Saglik came off the bench to score with nine minutes remaining.
Elsewhere, Ajax Amsterdam, already assured of their passage along with Aston Villa from Group F, needed an injury time Luis Suarez penalty to salvage a 2-2 draw at home to Slavia Prague while England striker Peter Crouch scored twice as Portsmouth beat Heerenveen 3-0 in a Group E dead rubber.
Six remaining qualifying places will be decided on Thursday in the remaining four groups with former champions Sevilla and Schalke 04 not yet guaranteed their places in the last 32.
Ties for the last 16 will also be drawn along with the last 32 in Nyon, Switzerland on Friday. The UEFA Cup final is in Istanbul on May 20.
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