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Football
Bayern and Villarreal reach group phase
Germans overcome FC Zurich while Yellow Submarine sinks Odense in Champions League playoffs.
Last Modified: 24 Aug 2011 00:38
Gomez ensured that Bayern went through to the main draw after they had won the first leg 2-0 [AFP]

Bayern Munich and Villarreal avoided early exits from the European Champions League as they cruised into Thursday's group stage draw after winning their play-off second legs.

Bayern beat FC Zurich 1-0 away thanks to a Mario Gomez first-half strike to win 3-0 on aggregate.

Villarreal  trounced Danish league runners-up Odense 3-0, to win 3-1 on aggregate.

Giuseppe Rossi grabbed a double to ensure the Yellow Submarine's place in the group stages for the third time in what was an ill-tempered match that saw a player from each side sent off.

Swedes Malmo nearly pulled-off a remarkable win, as regarded as no-hopers after losing the first leg 4-1, going 2-0 up four minutes from time against Dinamo Zagreb.

But they couldn't find the goal that would have seen them progress on the away goal rule.

Belgian side Genk and Israeli outfit Maccabi Haifa's clash went all the way to penalties - the match having finished 2-2 on aggregate - with Genk prevailing 4-1.

The losers at least have the consolation of going into the Europa League group stage draw.

Gomez's goal ensured Bayern will go into Thursday's draw as one of the 10 play-off winners who join the 22 automatic entrants.

"We have fulfilled our duty to reach the main draw, there is no one particular opponent we want to face - we have to beat everyone," said striker Nils Petersen, who came on for the injured Gomez in the second-half.

Bayern join fellow German sides Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen in the main draw.

The hosts rarely troubled Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer while Bayern barely got out of second gear.

Rossi showed why he is one of Europe's most-coveted strikers with a second-half double to set Villarreal on their way to victory.

Fumbled

The Spanish side must have been beginning to wonder where a goal was going to come from as Stefan Wessels saved everything that came his way until five minutes into the second half, when Rossi stabbed home a low Nilmar cross that Wessels fumbled.

That goal cancelled out Hans-Henrik Andreasen's strike which had given Odense the narrowest of first-leg leads.

The spectators at the El Madrigal was on it's feet again midway through the second half when a wonderful cross from deep on the right flank from Cani was met by Rossi, leaving Wessels with no chance.

Odense knew that an away goal would still swing the tie back in their favour, but their hopes were dealt a huge blow when Bashkim Kadrii was sent off for a second bookable offence.

Numerical parity was restored when Scottish referee Craig Thomson showed a red card to Borja Valero for a headbutt on Andreas Johansson, but Villarreal put the outcome of the tie beyond doubt when substitute Carlos Marchena's shot was fumbled over the line by Wessels.

Wednesday's matches features a crucial match for under-pressure Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger as his depleted side - shorn of the recently-sold Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri and with young England star Jack Wilshere injured - take a 1-0 lead to Italy where they face Udinese.

Source:
AFP
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