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Liverpool out despite win, Chelsea sneak it

ESPN staff
February 21, 2013 « Arsenal fans want 'fresh blood' on board | Chartbeat test »
Highlights: Liverpool 3-1 Zenit St Petersburg

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Liverpool produced a superb performance to beat Zenit St Petersburg 3-1 but went out of the Europa League while Chelsea, Tottenham and Newcastle all found a way through to the last-16.

Zenit carried a 2-0 lead into the Anfield leg and just did enough to progress through a 3-3 aggregate scoreline with the away goals weighting enabling their passage.

Their away goal came in the 19th minute through Liverpool's nemesis from the first leg; Hulk. Jamie Carragher, in what turned out to be his last European game for the club, gave the ball away when attempting a back pass to Pepe Reina and the Brazilian stole in.

The Reds then had to score four goals to win the tie. Luis Suarez started the comeback with a low free-kick just before the half-hour mark and Joe Allen added some genuine belief to it, getting on the end of some flowing build-up which Zenit's defence could not deal with.

In tune with the season so far, Suarez was Liverpool's primary danger man and when Carlos Luis Zeto took him down, the Uruguayan had another opportunity.

Steven Gerrard looked like he might have a shot but it went to Suarez and he curled it round the wall and into the goalkeeper's left-hand corner.

Liverpool then had half an hour to find another and if the crowd's enthusiasm was anything to go by, it seemed a sure bet that a fourth goal would come but the final blow never came and Zenit limped through.

Eden Hazard stepped up in injury time to win Chelsea's tie with Sparta Prague 2-1 on aggregate and sneak the Blues into the next round.

Substitute Hazard did what none of his team-mates had managed in the first 90 minutes and cut through Sparta's defence to fire an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net, making it 1-1 on the night.

The tie was heading for extra-time before the Belgian's intervention after David Lafata had scored Sparta's opener. Chelsea were not lacklustre and came into the match with three wins in a row fresh in their memory. Fernando Torres and Moses looked productive as they carved out an early chance and Sparta's goal came against the run of play.

Hazard entered the fray for Oscar on 66 minutes and took his time before popping up to score at just the right time for Rafael Benitez's men.

Lewis Holtby fired a warning shot at the end of the first half © Getty Images
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Moussa Dembele kept Tottenham's Europa League hopes alive in Lyon with an 89th-minute goal from 25 yards to earn a 1-1 draw on the night and a 3-2 aggregate victory.

Maxime Gonalons looked to have won the tie for the Ligue 1 side with a flicked header at Brad Friedel's near post after 18 minutes meaning his side would go through on away goals.

Spurs were wasteful in their effort to draw level as well, Gareth Bale in particular fluffing his lines when Emmanuel Adebayor's cross found him unmarked on 50 minutes.

Before that Lewis Holtby had hit the post with an excellent long-range effort but Dembele went one better when he picked up the ball late on.

After assessing his options he jinked to the left and struck the ball across goal with his left foot, landing it past Remi Vercoutre's despairing dive.

Newcastle's tie with Metalist Kharkiv was settled by Shola Ameobi's 15th European goal and it was possibly the easiest one of the lot, coming from 12 yards after Moussa Sissoko was fouled in the box.

Metalist goalkeeper Oleksandr Goryainov fouled the Frenchman and was nowhere near making amends for his mis-deeds as he dived the wrong way when Ameobi hammered his penalty to the left of the goalkeeper, securing a 1-0 win.

Metalist substitute Willian found himself in a one-on-one with Tim Krul just minutes later but his attempted chip was well blocked by the Magpies stopper.

Krul had to be lively for the rest of the second half as Newcastle were under siege at the OSK Metalist Stadium but he was helped out by his side throwing large numbers behind the ball.

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