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UEFA Cup loses top-name clubs
Updated: 2006-03-17 09:06

LONDON, March 16 (Reuters) - Former European champions Olympique Marseille bowed out of the UEFA Cup to unheralded Zenit St Petersburg on Thursday, the latest of the competition's big guns to bite the dust.

A 1-1 draw at the Petrovsky stadium sealed a 2-1 aggregate success for Russia's Zenit who reached the last eight for the first time.

Germany's Schalke 04, the 1997 winners, Steaua Bucharest, Basel and Levski Sofia also advanced. Schalke are the only side from the eight teams who dropped out of the Champions League into the UEFA Cup to reach this stage.

Middlesbrough, Rapid Bucharest and Sevilla qualified for the last eight on Wednesday with Boro knocking out Italy's AS Roma and Rapid overcoming Bundesliga high-flyers Hamburg SV.

Marseille's reserve keeper Cedric Carrasso, deputising for the injured Fabien Barthez, had a game to forget.

His blunder allowed Aleksandr Kerzhakov to fire Zenit ahead and he was sent off in stoppage time for a crunching challenge on the same player.

Carrasso spilled Kerzhakov's speculative shot which then hit the post before trickling over the line in the 69th minute.

Marseille, the beaten 2004 finalists, quickly levelled through defender Frederic Dehu's free kick but Zenit held firm for the final 16 minutes.

"The main thing for us tonight was to keep a clean sheet. Still, we had more chances than them and I'm proud of the way we fought," said Zenit's Czech coach Vlastimil Petrzela.


Romania will boast two sides in the last eight after Steaua, the 1986 European Cup winners, underlined their title credentials by crushing Real Betis 3-0 in Spain to go through by the same score.

Midfielder Banel Nicolita got the opener on 54 minutes and Betis winger Joaquin was shown a red card for elbowing Nicolae Dica in the face six minutes later.

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