Adebayor fires Spurs into last 16

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iol spt feb28 Adebayor-Europa League

Reuters

Emmanuel Adebayor scored twice in four minutes as Tottenham Hotspur overturned a two-goal aggregate deficit to reach the last 16 of the Europa League. Photo by: Eddie Keogh/Reuters

London - Emmanuel Adebayor scored twice in four minutes as Tottenham Hotspur overturned a two-goal aggregate deficit to beat 10-man Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 3-2 over two legs on Thursday to reach the last 16 of the Europa League.

It was a painful return to London for Tottenham's former coach Juande Ramos whose side took the lead on the night through Roman Zozulya.

Forward Zozulya was then sent off in the 62nd minute, six minutes after Christian Eriksen had levelled, and Adebayor grabbed his quickfire double to give twice Uefa Cup winners Spurs a 3-1 second-leg victory.

Nabil Ghilas, of twice former champions Porto, netted in the 86th minute to secure a 3-3 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt, the Portuguese side going through on away goals after the tie ended 5-5 on aggregate.

Napoli, with coach Rafa Benitez attempting to win back-to-back Europa Leagues after picking up the trophy with Chelsea last season, and Ludogorets also came out on top in thrilling second-leg matches.

The Serie A team scored two late goals to beat Swansea City 3-1 on the night and on aggregate while Bulgarians Ludogorets ousted Lazio after an 88th-minute goal from Juninho Quixada gave them a 3-3 home draw and a 4-3 win overall.

Ramos looked on course for revenge over the club that sacked him five years ago when his Dnipro team took the lead on the night through Zozulya who headed in unmarked early in the second half.

Joy soon turned to despair for the Spanish coach, who led Tottenham to their last trophy when they won the English League Cup in 2008, as Eriksen scored with a free kick and Zozulya saw red for appearing to head-butt defender Jan Vertonghen.

Tottenham were then firmly in command and Adebayor converted an Eriksen cross from close range on 65 minutes before grabbing his second after collecting a long-ball and finishing with a clever flick.

The Togo striker now has 11 goals from his last 15 games, making it harder to see why he was left out earlier in the season under former manager Andre-Villas Boas before being brought back into the fold by new boss Tim Sherwood.

“I'm very glad to be back scoring goals and happy with my team,” Adebayor told ITV Sport.

“I have to keep focused and keep going. I want to say thank you to the new manager who came in and gave me my stage to perform.”

Porto looked to be heading out when they trailed 2-0 in Frankfurt, Stefan Aigner prodding the German side ahead from close range and Alexander Meier converting a cross to double the lead.

Two second-half headers from defender Eliaquim Mangala made it 2-2 and levelled the tie 4-4 on aggregate.

Eintracht regained the advantage through Meier but Ghilas latched on to a loose ball when keeper Kevin Trapp could only parry a shot and slid the ball into the empty net to give the visitors an away-goal victory.

Ludogorets had won the first leg against Lazio 1-0 but were quickly behind in the return game when Balde Diao Keita bundled the ball into the net after a minute and Brayan Perea converted an Ogenyi Onazi pass to make it 2-0 on the night early in the second half.

Goals from Roman Bezjak and Hristo Zlatinski made it 2-2 but the Italians again looked set to advance when Miroslav Klose poked in a rebound with eight minutes remaining.

Quixada then pounced on a long pass to flick the ball over the on-rushing Lazio keeper and put the hosts into the last 16.

Napoli scored early through Lorenzo Insigne's dinked finish but Swansea equalised through Jonathan de Guzman.

Gonzalo Higuain's predatory instincts then came to Benitez's rescue as the Argentine swivelled and volleyed home with 12 minutes remaining before Napoli keeper Jose Reina pulled off a remarkable reflex save from Dwight Tiendalli's header.

Gokhan Inler netted deep into injury time to take the tie out of Swansea's reach.

Serie A champions Juventus comfortably beat Trabzonspor 2-0 in Turkey to progress after winning by the same scoreline in Italy last week while Benfica scored three goals in nine second-half minutes to beat PAOK Salonika 3-0 on the night, 4-0 overall.

Salzburg, who won all six group matches earlier in the competition, thrashed Ajax Amsterdam 6-1 on aggregate after winning 3-1 in Austria in the second leg.

Spanish club Real Betis secured a 3-1 aggregate victory over Russians Rubin Kazan, winning 2-0 away with Nono and Ruben Castro on target.

Sevilla beat Slovenians Maribor 2-1 with goals from Jose Antonio Reyes and Kevin Gameiro to go through 4-3 on aggregate while Viktoria Plzen defeated Shakhtar Donetsk 2-1 to advance 3-2 overall.

Alexandre Lacazette scored in the 80th minute for Olympique Lyon against Chernomorets Odessa to progress 1-0 on aggregate and Fiorentina drew 1-1 at home to Esbjerg but went through 4-2 overall. – Reuters


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