PSG, Fulham dumped out of Europa League
Updated: 2011-12-16 07:38
Guillaume Gillet of Anderlecht (right) celebrates past Vladislav Ignatyev of Lokomotiv Moscow during their Europa League Group L soccer match at the Constant Vanden Stock stadium in Brussels on Wednesday. [Photo/Agencies]
PARIS - Paris Saint Germain may or may not end up offering David Beckham a spell in the twilight of his career, but the former England star will not find any Europa League fare on his menu after the capital club were eliminated on Wednesday.
PSG beat already-qualified Athletic Bilbao 4-2 at the Parc des Princes to hand the Spaniards their first loss of the tournament.
But the win was not enough as Salzburg won 3-2 at Slovan Bratislava to see the Austrians take second place in Group F.
That means there is no chance of the Parisians getting an attractive knockout round date with Champions League dropouts Manchester United, Beckham's former club, when Friday's draw is made at Nyon.
Also on the European scrapheap is English Premier League side Fulham, runner-up in 2010 but who squandered a two-goal lead to draw at home to Denmark's Odense.
The Danes bagged their leveller in the third minute of time added on at Craven Cottage through substitute Djiby Fall's header after Hans Henrik Andreasen had reduced the deficit following goals for the host from Clint Dempsey and Kerim Frei.
The result means Poland's Wisla Krakow progresses instead after beating group winner FC Twente of the Netherlands.
Recent media reports in France had suggested that PSG's owners, Qatar Sport Investments (QSI), had offered Beckham a lucrative contract to become the figurehead of its drive to turn the under-achieving side into one of Europe's top clubs.
PSG, joint top of the French league table with Montpellier as it chases down a first domestic crown since 1994, spent 85 million euros in the summer following a Qatari buyout but the influx has not translated into success on the European stage and it now must ensure it reaches the Champions League via a strong Ligue 1 finish.
Coach Antoine Kombouare has been under the microscope in recent weeks following some poor results and the pressure will now only increase with just the league title to aim for.
Kombouare was candid about his men's shortcomings.
"It's a big disappointment, we really should have got through this group. But we weren't able to do what we had to - now we have to get over it and do better in the league and French Cup."
PSG sporting director Leonardo denied the axe would fall on the man in the dugout and said: "That was one of our season targets. So we are disappointed. It cannot be good for us to be eliminated - we wanted to go right through to the end."
Elsewhere, Lazio reached the last 32 with a 2-0 win over Group D winners Sporting Lisbon.
English Premier league side Stoke went down 3-1 at Besiktas despite Ricardo Fuller giving it the lead but had already qualified from Group E.
Manuel Fernandes equalized with a penalty spot after Matthew Upson was sent off for felling Hugo Almeida, and substitutes Mustafa Pektemek and Edu secured the win at a heaving Inonu Stadium, leaving the Turkish as group winner.
Eight of the 32 sides in the knockout round will comprise United and City's fellow Champions League failures - Turkey's Trabzonspor, Ajax, Valencia, Olympiakos, Porto, and Plzen.
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