Liverpool scrapes into last 16 of Europa League.
PARIS — An early penalty was enough for Liverpool as it scraped past German side Augsburg 1-0 to join Shakhtar Donetsk, Valencia, Fenerbahce and Athletic Bilbao in the last 16 of Europa League on Thursday.
Lazio, Bayer Leverkusen and Sparta Prague also progressed, while Premier League sides Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur played later with their matches finely poised.
At Anfield, midfielder James Milner scored from the penalty spot in the fifth minute and fit-again striker Daniel Sturridge rolled a shot wide just after the break as five-time European Cup winner Liverpool failed to turn domination into goals.
Valencia had no such problem, trouncing Rapid Vienna 4-0 away after routing the Austrian side 6-0 in Spain, while veteran striker Miroslav Klose rounded off a good night for Lazio as it beat Turkish side Galatasaray 3-1 to advance 4-2 on aggregate.
Fortunes seem to be changing for Valencia coach Gary Neville, the former Manchester United stalwart defender, who was widely derided after his side lost 7-0 away to Barcelona in the Spanish Cup semifinals. This was Valencia’s fourth straight win in all competitions.
Later, Neville’s old club was facing little-known Danish club FC Midtjylland at Old Trafford after losing the first leg 2-1, while Tottenham hosted Fiorentina after drawing 1-1 away to the Italian side.
Ukrainian side Shakhtar — the 2009 champion — won 3-0 away to German side Schalke 04, with highly-rated midfielder Viktor Kovalenko capping a fine performance.
Leverkusen ensured a German presence in the next round after beating Sporting Lisbon 3-1 for a 4-1 aggregate win, with striker Karim Bellarabi scoring twice.
Meanwhile, Fenerbahce advanced after its match with host Lokomotiv Moscow, it passed without any fan disturbances against a backdrop of political tension between Turkey and Russia.
Fenerbahce drew the second leg 1-1 to advance 3-1 on aggregate.
Basque club Athletic Bilbao needed a late equalizer from substitute Sabin Merino to draw 1-1 with visiting Marseille to complete a 2-1 aggregate win.
Marseille, the only French side to have won the Champions League, hit the post twice before Belgium striker Michy Batshuayi pounced from close range in the 40th minute. But Merino scored with a brilliant diving header in the 81st.
Also later, Porto hosted in-form Borussia Dortmund and Napoli faced Villarreal.
On Wednesday, Portuguese side Braga shaded its encounter with Swiss side Sion, drawing 2-2 at home to advance 4-3.