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Newcastle and Liverpool through to Europa League group stages

England will have three representatives in the draw for the group stages of the UEFA Europa League.

Newcastle United and Liverpool advanced through their playoff matches, although there were some hairy moments along the way for both clubs.

They join Tottenham, who qualified directly into the group stage.

It was a predictable night for the Scottish clubs, as both Motherwell and Hearts made expected but dignified exits from Europe.

Newcastle in control

A long-range deflected strike from substitute Haris Vuckic in the 21st minute was enough for Newcastle to edge out Atromitos of Greece 1-0, at the Sports Direct Arena and 2-1 on aggregate.

The Magpies were in control for the majority of the match but had a few scares along the way, with Tim Krul lucky to stay on the pitch before half-time, when he brought down Chumbinho, yet the striker was booked for simulation!

Alan Pardew will be encouraged by the performance of some of his squad players and can look forward to a European journey until Christmas.

Motherwell put up a valiant performance in Spain but went down 1-0 to Levante on the night and 3-0 on aggregate.

Michael Higdon had a header ruled out for offside early on as the La Liga side, showed some naivety in the early stages.

They improved after the break and a Theofanis Gekas strike, 18 minutes from time broke the resistance of the Scottish side.

Liverpool take the prize, Hearts the plaudits

Liverpool’s early season performances have been puzzling to work out and this continued in the second leg of their Battle of Britain with Hearts.

David Templeton took advantage of a rare error from Pepe Reina, to force Hearts into the lead with just five minutes of the tie remaining.

Scottish hearts were broken three minutes later, when a bit of quality from Luis Suarez, drew Liverpool level on the night at 1-1 and took them into the group stages rather fortunately.

The night was dominated in Merseyside away from the field, by Andy Carroll’s departure to West Ham United on a loan deal.

Away from the British involvement and the main upset came in Russia.

2005 UEFA Cup winners CSKA Moscow lost 2-0 at home to AIK Solna, which allowed the Swedes to dump CSKA out 2-1 on aggregate.

Nine of the best from PSV

PSV Eindhoven showed no mercy against FK Zeta, thrashing them 9-0 in Holland.

The 1988 European Cup winners were already 5-0 ahead from the first leg, therefore completing a 14-0 aggregate scoreline.

Anzhi from Russia will want to be avoided by the English clubs after Guus Hiddink’s side thumped AZ Alkmaar 5-0 in Holland, 6-0 on aggregate.

Inter Milan, Marseille, Lazio, Athletic Bilbao and Sporting Lisbon were among the other familiar names to progress into the group stages.

The other minor surprise came in Austria, with PAOK Salonika losing 3-0 to Rapid Vienna. PAOK ended Tottenham’s hopes of progression in the group stages last season.

With the likes of Napoli, Rubin Kazan, defending holders Atletico Madrid and Lyon, joining Champions League losers Fenerbahce, FC Basle & Panathinaikos, combined with many expectant winners from the playoff stage, the 2012-13 UEFA Europa League, promises to be the best edition so far.

UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE PLAYOFF ROUND, 2ND LEG

APOEL Nicosia 1-3 Neftci (Neftci WIN 4-2 on aggregate)

AZ Alkmaar 0-5 Anzhi (Anzhi WIN 6-0 on aggregate)

Bordeaux 3-2 Red Star Belgrade (Bordeaux WIN 3-2 on aggregate)

Club Brugge 4-1 Debrecen (Club Brugge WIN 7-1 on aggregate)

CSKA Moscow 0-2 AIK Solna (AIK Solna WIN 2-1 on aggregate)

Dila Gori 0-2 Maritimo (Maritimo WIN 3-0 on aggregate)

Dinamo Moscow 1-1 VFB Stuttgart (VFB Stuttgart WIN 3-1 on aggregate)

Dnipro 4-2 Slovan Liberec (Dnipro WIN 6-4 on aggregate)

FC Twente 4-1 Bursaspor (FC Twente WIN 5-4 on aggregate)

Hannover 96 5-1 Slask Wroclaw (Hannover 96 WIN 10-4 on aggregate)

Hapoel Tel-Aviv 4-0 F91 Dudelange (Hapoel Tel-Aviv WIN 7-1 on aggregate)

Heerenveen 1-2 Molde FK (Molde FK WIN 4-1 on aggregate)

HJK Helsinki 3-3 Athletic Bilbao (Athletic Bilbao WIN 9-3 on aggregate)

Inter Milan 2-2 FC Vaslui (Inter Milan WIN 4-2 on aggregate)

KRC Genk 2-0 FC Luzern (KRC Genk WIN 3-2 on aggregate)

Lazio 3-1 Mura (Lazio WIN 5-1 on aggregate)

Levante 1-0 Motherwell (Levante WIN 3-0 on aggregate)

Liverpool 1-1 Hearts (Liverpool WIN 2-1 on aggregate)

Marseille 0-0 FC Sheriff Tiraspol (Marseille WIN 2-1 on aggregate)

Metalist Kharkiv 2-1 Dinamo Bucharest (Metalist Kharkiv WIN 4-1 on aggregate)

Newcastle United 1-0 Atromitos (Newcastle United WIN 2-1 on aggregate)

Partizan Belgrade 1-0 Tromso (3-3 on aggregate, Partizan Belgrade WIN ON AWAY GOALS)

PSV Eindhoven 9-0 FK Zeta (PSV Eindhoven WIN 14-0 on aggregate)

Rapid Vienna 3-0 PAOK Salonika (Rapid Vienna WIN 4-2 on aggregate)

Rosenborg 2-1 Legia Warsaw (Rosenborg WIN 3-2 on aggregate)

Sparta Prague 2-0 Feyenoord (Sparta Prague WIN 4-2 on aggregate)

Sporting Lisbon 5-0 AC Horsens (Sporting Lisbon WIN 6-1 on aggregate)

Steaua Bucharest 3-0 Ekranas (Steaua Bucharest WIN 5-0 on aggregate)

Videoton 0-0 Trabzonspor (AET, 0-0 on aggregate, Videoton WIN 4-2 on PENALTIES)

Viktoria Plzen 1-0 Lokeren (2-2 on aggregate, Viktoria Plzen WIN on AWAY GOALS RULE)

Young Boys 0-2 Midtjylland (Young Boys WIN 3-2 on aggregate)

By Simon Wright – Follow me on Twitter @Siwri88

Follow Total Football on Twitter: @TotalFootball12

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