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Europa League wrap: Russian sides dominate

Zenit St Petersburg produced a stirring comeback in their Europa League tie to oust Young Boys 4-3 on aggregate on Thursday.

Swiss side Young Boys had seemingly wrapped up their spot in the round of 16 when they opened the scoring through Ammar El Jemal in the 21st minute to take a 3-1 aggregate lead.

But Luciano Spalletti’s side pulled one goal back before the break via Danko Lazovic, before Sergei Semak’s 52nd minute goal levelled the tie at 3-3.

Roman Shirokov was the hero for St Petersburg, scoring the winner in the 76th minute to secure their passage into the next round.

Rangers stole a dramatic away goals victory in their tie with Sporting Lisbon, as Maurice Edu’s 90th minute goal ensured the Scots a place in the last 16.

After the first leg finished at 1-1 in Glasgow, Rangers were staring at elimination when trailing 2-1 at Estadio Jose de Alvalade before Edu’s late intervention secured a 2-2 draw.

Dutchman Dirk Kuyt was the hero for Liverpool, netting an 86th minute winner to ensure a 1-0 aggregate victory over Sparta Prague.

Fans at Anfield were preparing for a nervy extra time period after no goals were scored in the first 175 minutes of the tie, but Kuyt headed home at the near post to send Kenny Dalglish’s men through.

Spartak Moscow became the third Russian side to make the last 16, beating Swiss side Basel 4-3 on aggregate after a 1-1 draw at Olimpiyskiy stadion Luzhniki.

PSV Eindhoven recovered from an early deficit against Lille to record a comfortable 3-1 result at Philips Stadion and 5-3 aggregate victory.

Bundesliga contenders Bayer Leverkusen romped to a 6-0 aggregate triumph over Ukrainian side FC Metalist after a 2-0 win at the BayArena.

Miralem Sulekmani’s brace in the opening 17 minutes helped Ajax to a 2-0 win at the Amsterdam Arena over Anderlecht, and a 5-0 triumph on aggregate.

Dynamo Kiev crushed Turkish club Besiktas 4-0 in their second leg in Ukraine, capping off a standout 8-1 overall win.

A classy brace from Edin Dzeko helped Manchester City to a 3-0 win over Aris at Eastlands. Roberto Mancini’s men progress following a 0-0 result in the first leg in Greece.

Villarreal fought back to beat Napoli 2-1 in an entertaining affair in Spain, with Nilmar and Giuseppe Rossi scoring late in the first half to cancel out Marek Hamsik’s opener, sealing qualification for Villarreal after the first leg in Italy ended 0-0.

Portuguese side Sporting Braga recovered from a 1-0 overall deficit to beat Lech Poznan 2-1 on aggregate.

FC Twente saw off a gallant Rubin Kazan comeback to win their tie 4-2 overall. The Russian club had cancelled out their Dutch opponents’ two-goal lead from the first leg to square the tie, only for Thomas Janssen and Douglas to score either side of half time and send the the Eredivisie champions through.

Benfica eased past Bundesliga strugglers Stuttgart 2-0 in their second leg to cruise to a 4-1 aggregate triumph.

Paris Saint-Germain kept out BATE Borisov at Parc des Princes, playing out a 0-0 draw at home to advance to the final 16 on away goals after their 2-2 first leg result in Belarus.

Article title: Europa League wrap: Russian sides dominate

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