Champions League: Liverpool advances despite loss

Defending champion Liverpool made it to the group stage of Champions League on Tuesday despite losing 1-0 to visiting CSKA Sofia.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:48 IST
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Defending champion Liverpool made it to the group stage of Champions League on Tuesday despite losing 1-0 to visiting CSKA Sofia. Austria's Rapid Vienna scored a late winner in another third round qualifying game to capture a spot in the last 32 of European soccer's most prestigious competition. They were joined by another surprise qualifier, Artmedia Bratislava. The Slovakian champions won a penalty shootout against Partizan Belgrade after 210 minutes of scoreless soccer over two legs and extra time. Real Betis, Udineset Real Betis of Spain, Norway's Rosenborg and Italy's Udinese also made it to the group stage. Among the 16 teams already in Thursday's draw in Monte Carlo are nine-time winner Real Madrid, six-time champion AC Milan, FC Barcelona, Juventus, Chelsea, Arsenal and four-time winner Bayern Munich. Eight more clubs will qualify on Wednesday. After five straight qualifying victories and a 14-2 combined score, Liverpool was stunned at home by CSKA, which got a goal from Valentin Iliev in the 16th minute. Liverpool won the first leg 3-1 and advanced 3-2 on aggregate. Liverpool is a five-time champion and one of Europe's most respected clubs. Valachovic shines Jozef Valachovic headed in the winner in the 84th in Rapid Vienna's 1-0 victory at Lokomotiv Moscow to put the Austrian club into the group stage 2-1 on aggregate. Valachovic also scored from the penalty spot in the first leg. Real Betis advanced 3-2 on aggregate after a 2-2 draw with Monaco. Ricardo Oliveira scored both goals for Betis, while Gerard Lopez and Toifilou Maoulida answered for Monaco. Udinese advanced to the group stage for the first time by beating Sporting Lisbon 3-2 and 4-2 on aggregate. If Inter Milan advances on Wednesday, four Italian clubs will be in the last 32. Rosenborg held off 1986 European champion Steaua Bucharest to win 3-2 and advance 4-3. The Norwegian champions were leading 3-0 before Steaua scored two goals in three minutes late in the match. In Wednesday's games, Inter Milan holds a 2-0 lead and home advantage against Ukraine's Shakhtar Donetsk, Manchester United goes to Hungarian champion Debrecen 3-0 ahead and four-time European Cup champion Ajax welcomes Denmark's Brondby with the teams level at 2-2. Everton, back in European soccer's biggest competition for the first time since 1971, goes to Villarreal hoping to overturn a first leg deficit of 2-1. (AP)