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Villa go through despite surprise defeat

  • Story Highlights
  • Aston Villa qualify for UEFA Cup last 32 despite losing 2-1 at home to Zilina
  • Despite the defeat, Villa join Hamburg and Ajax in qualification from Group F
  • FA Cup winners Portsmouth crash out after losing 3-2 at Wolfsburg in Group E
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(CNN) -- Premeir League side Aston Villa are through to the last 32 of the UEFA Cup, despite scrashing to a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of minnows Zilina in Group F.

Zilina celebrate their opening goal in their surprise 2-1 UEFA Cup victory at Aston Villa.

Although Zilina's victory at Villa Park gave the Slovakian side team four points from their four group matches, that still leaves them behind Villa, Hamburg and Ajax, who all qualify for the next round with six points.

Vladimir Leitner gave the visitors a 16th-minute lead when he floated in a cross from the left and, after defender Zat Knight missed the ball, goalkeeper Brad Guzan failed to stop it creeping inside the far post.

The visitors soon made it 2-0 with a well-crafted goal, Peter Pekari pulling the ball back for Peter Styver to fire home from the edge of the area.

Teenager Nathan Delfouneso marked his first start for Villa by pulling a goal back with a smart left-foot volley, but the visitors held on for a deserved victory despite the late dismissal of Leitner for a second bookable offense.

Meanwhile, Ivica Olic and Mladen Petric scored to give Hamburg a 2-0 win at Slavia Prague, who are also eliminated from the competition.

Olic beat goalkeeper Martin Vaniak from inside the area in the 30th minute after the ball was ldeflected to him by Slavia defender Marek Suchy following a shot by Petric.

Petric added the second from the penalty spot in injury time after Vaniak fouled Hamburg captain David Jarolim and was subsequently sent off.

Portsmouth are out of the competition after an error from goalkeeper David James saw the FA Cup holders lose 3-2 at Wolfsburg, a result that sees the Bundesliga side qualify from Group E, along with AC Milan and Portuguese side Braga.

The home side took a third minute lead when Edin Dzeko converted a Christian Gentner cross, but Portsmouth levelled in the 11th minute after Diego Benaglio fumbled a cross from Armand Traore. The ball to Jermain Defoe, who tapped into an unguarded net.

Three minutes later, Portsmouth took the lead when Arnold Mvuemba fired home a left-foot shot from 20 meters out, the ball appearing to take a slight deflection off Andrea Barzagli before going in.

A frantic first half saw Wolfsburg level before the interval when Gentner scored from a similar distance, his sharp shot finding the net from just inside the post.

The winner came in the 74th minute when James tried to kick away a back-pass but instead placed the ball at the feet of Zvijezdan Misimovic, who rounded the goalkeeper before slotting home.

James partly redeemed himself five minutes later, when he dived to his right to save Misimovic's penalty after Dzeko was brought down by Sol Campbell.

The result sees Wolfsburg qualify with a maximum nine points from three matches. Italian giants Milan, who did not play on Thursday, had already sealed their place with seven points and the two teams meet at the San Siro next week to determine the group winners.

Braga won 2-1 at Dutch side Heerenveen to clinch the third spot with six points. Portsmouth host Heerenveen next week to determine who finishes bottom of the group, with the Premier League side only gaining a single point from their three games so far.

Nikola Zigic scored a second-half equalizer to give Valencia a 1-1 draw with FC Bruges, a result that secured the Spanish side's qualification from Group G.

Zigic levelled in the 60th minute after Antolin Alcaraz had given the visitors a 19th minute advantage.

French side St Etienne, who did not play on Thursday, top the group with seven points and they face Valencia (five points) in the final match to see who goes through as group winners.

Bruges entertain FC Copenhagen, who drew 1-1 with eliminated Rosenborg on Thursday, in the other final match to see who takes the third qualification place.

A Vagner Love hat-trick secured CSKA Moscow's position at the top of Group H, beating Nancy 4-3 in a thriller at the Marcel Picot stadium to dent the French side's qualification hopes.

The Brazilian scored two minutes from the end to seal the win after Nancy thought they had stolen a point through Basile Camerling's late strike.

Vagner Love and fellow-Brazilian Ramon had given the visitors a 3-1 lead over Nancy, for whom Monsef Zerka and Julien Feret also scored.

The result means CSKA are through with a perfect 12 points from their four matches, but the other qualification places are still up for grabs.

Deportivo La Coruna must wait until their final match to secure their passage to the last 32 after a 1-1 draw with Lech Poznan in Poland.

Diego Colotto put the visitors ahead in the first minute but Hernan Rengifo levelled before half-time for Lech and Deportivo were grateful to keeper Daniel Aranzubia for some fine saves.

Bottom side Feyenoord did not play but are eliminated after three straight defeats.

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