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Werder Bremen dumps AC Milan out of UEFA Cup

AC Milan was knocked out of the UEFA Cup on away goals yesterday after surrendering a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Werder Bremen.

Andrea Pirlo put a Milan team including David Beckham ahead with a 27th-minute penalty and Alexandre Pato made it 2-0 six minutes later, but Peru striker Claudio Pizarro scored twice to eliminate the seven-time European champions and set up a meeting with Saint-Etienne in the round of 16.

Udinese was the only one of four Italian teams to progress following a 2-1 win over Lech Poznan. Sampdoria lost at Metalist Kharkiv 2-0 to go out 3-0 over two matches and Fiorentina was eliminated 2-1 following a 1-1 draw at Ajax.

England will also have just one representative in the round of 16 after Aston Villa and two-time UEFA Cup winner Tottenham were knocked out after fielding weakened teams.

Villa was beaten by 2005 champion CSKA Moscow 2-0 and Tottenham drew 1-1 with Shakhtar Donetsk to go out 3-1, leaving only Manchester City to go through following its 2-1 win over FC Copenhagen.

Milan appeared to be cruising into the next round after adding two home goals to the away goal it got in a 1-1 draw in Germany two weeks ago. Pirlo scored a penalty after Torsten Frings had handled the ball in the area and Pato doubled the advantage with a shot from the edge of the area.

But Pizarro scored two headers to carry the Bundesliga team through to a meeting with Saint-Etienne in the next round.

"I understand the fans' jeers and I feel myself responsible," Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti said. "Elimination is a hard blow. If we were now to weigh up the season so far, it would be negative."

The first legs in the round of 16 are scheduled for March 12, with the return matches the following week.

Saint-Etienne completed a 5-2 aggregate win over Olympiakos with a 2-1 home victory, and French rival Paris Saint-Germain cruised to a 3-0 win at Wolfsburg to go through 5-1 and set up a meeting with Braga. Braga was already leading Standard Liege 3-0 before drawing 1-1 Thursday.

Although it was chasing a 2-0 deficit from the first leg, Tottenham rested almost its entire first team ahead of Sunday's League Cup final against Manchester United, and its seven substitutes, who were all aged 17 or 18, had a total of just four appearances between them.

"We're involved in a cup final on Sunday, that was the problem tonight," Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp said. "I don't even know how I am supposed to do anything else. I've had to juggle around this week."

Giovani Dos Santos scored his first goal for Spurs in the 56th, cutting in from the right to hit a left-foot shot across the goalkeeper and into the top corner. Tottenham looked more likely to get another goal but Fernandinho equalized with four minutes left.

Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill had also signaled his disinterest in the UEFA Cup by resting eight first-team regulars, including England internationals Emile Heskey, Gareth Barry and Gabriel Agbonlahor, and his second-string side conceded two second-half goals to lose to 2005 champion CSKA Moscow.

Yury Zhirkov scored in the 61st minute with a low, left-foot shot from the edge of the penalty area past Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan before Love, who also scored in the 1-1 draw in the first leg, made it 2-0 in injury time from eight meters (yards).

Villa can now concentrate on its attempt to keep hold of its place in the top four of the Premier League and qualify for the Champions League for the first time. Manchester City, meanwhile, went through after Craig Bellamy scored twice to complete a 4-3 aggregate win.

Marseille won at FC Twente 1-0 to level the score on aggregate before winning a penalty shootout 7-6, with Slobodan Rajkovic missing the decisive kick for the home side.

Hamburg cruised into the next round with a 1-0 win over NEC Nijmegen that wrapped up a 4-0 win over two legs. Hamburg will meet Galatasaray next after Sabri Sarioglu scored in the last minute to give the 2000 champions a 4-3 win over Bordeaux and passage by the same score.

Also Thursday, defending champion Zenit St. Petersburg went through after a second straight 2-1 win over Stuttgart, Aalborg eliminated Deportivo La Coruna, Paris Saint-Germain got past Wolfsburg and Dynamo Kiev drew 2-2 at Valencia to advance on away goals.


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