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Following two charged up nights of Champions League action, the focus was back on the Europa League as three English sides sought progression into the next round. A first goal in Liverpool colours in 19 months for Joe Cole seemed to have earned Liverpool victory over Young Boys, but the Swiss side came from behind twice to earn a 2-2 draw leaving Liverpool to slug it out on the last matchday to qualify.
A Hugo Lloris-inspired Tottenham could only play out a goalless draw at Lazio amidst controversy and Spurs now need only a draw in their final game at home against Panathinaikos to qualify. Meanwhile, Sylvain Marveaux put Newcastle ahead against Maritimo at the Sports Direct Arena, only for the Portuguese side to snatch an equalizer 15 minutes from time. The draw though was enough for the English side to qualify for the next stage of the competition with a game in hand.
Elsewhere, Inter Milan lost 3-0 away to Rubin Kazan with a second-string side and holders Atletico Madrid secured a passage into the last 32 with a narrow 1-0 over Hapoel Tel Aviv.
Liverpool 2-2 Young Boys
Brendan Rodgers continued to give second-string players the chance to shine in the Europa League as Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling watched the action from the bench. Joe Cole put in one of his better performances in a Liverpool shirt as he crossed for Jonjo Shelvey to head in his 4th goal in Europe this season and Liverpool were 1-0 ahead in the 33rd minute. However, the visitors drew level 7 minutes into the 2nd half through a Raul Bobadilla equalizer.
Luis Suarez was introduced to provide some sting in the Liverpool attack and his influence was seen as the home side were ahead again as Joe Cole turned his marker in the 72nd minute to plant a shot past the Young Boys keeper. But Liverpool were denied victory 2 minutes from time as Elsad Zverotic's swerving 88th minute strike left their Europa League challenge hanging in the balance. As group leaders Anzhi Makhachkala won 2-0 against Udinese earlier, Liverpool needed a victory to go through but now must avoid defeat in their last game away to Udinese to have a chance of progressing.
Lazio 0-0 Tottenham
Tottenham went into this game second in their group, 2 points behind leaders Lazio and a victory would have sent them through. Andre Villas-Boas selected a strong team for the trip to Italy with Emmanuel Adebayor, Gareth Bale, Clint Dempsey and Hugo Lloris amongst the starters. Moussa Dembele watched from the bench after coming back from injury. As Lazio fans chanted â€œJuden Tottenham" at the away fans in an apparent anti-Semitic jibe, Tottenham felt they were deprived off an early goal as a Bale strike was incorrectly ruled out for offside.
Spurs were sloppy in possession and the home team was creating the better chances as they opened up the Tottenham defence time and again and could have been ahead if not for Hugo Lloris who produced good saves to deny Libor Kozak twice in the first half. If not for the poor finishing by the Lazio players, Tottenham wouldn't have come back with a point. With Panathinaikos winning 1-0 against Maribor, Spurs will welcome the Greek side to White Hart Lane in a couple of weeks time in what will effectively be a qualification play-off, with anything other than a defeat good enough to send the London side through
Newcastle United 1-1 Maritimo
Newcastle were top of Group D and unbeaten after four games as they welcomed an already eliminated Maritimo side. Newcastle had a 100 per cent record at the Sports Direct Arena so they were confident going into their game with Maritimo the homeside lacked their usual fluidity in the early stages as Maritimo took the game to the hosts. Alan Pardew named a strong starting lineup including Papiss Cisse, Vurnon Anita, Sylvain Marveaux and a first involvement in the competition for Hatem Ben Arfa.
Marveaux put Newcastle ahead with his first goal for the Magpies in the 23rd minute after some excellent play by Ben Arfa. However, Maritimo were creating their fair share of chances and were rewarded for their attacking intent when Philipe Fidelis blasted home the equalizer in the 73rd minute after Tim Krul spilled Ruben Ferreira's long range effort. The draw means Bordeaux climbed back to the top of the group by virtue of their 2-1 victory over Club Brugge and they will entertain Newcastle in the final game to determine the group winner.
Atletico Madrid 1-0 Hapoel Tel Aviv
Defending champions Atletico Madrid welcomed Isreali side Hapoel Tel Aviv still not sure of their place in the next round and needed a 7th minute Raul Garcia goal to earn them a 1-0 win which sealed their progress into the last 32. The Spanish side were thankful for not being punished for their profligacy in from of goal and head into the last round of the group stage knowing a draw in their final game away to Czech side Vktoria Plzen would ensure they finish top of the group.
Liverpool 2 â€“ 2 Young Boys
AIK 1 â€“ 2 Napoli
Newcastle 1 â€“ 1 Maritimo
PSV Eindhoven 1 â€“ 2 Dnipropetrovsk
Anzhi Makhachkala 2 â€“ 0 Udinese
Lazio 0 â€“ 0 Tottenham
Rubin Kazan 3 â€“ 0 Inter Milan
Sparta Prague 1 â€“ 1 Ol. Lyon
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