Europa goal fest for big guns
Roma and Villarreal were among the most convincing winners in Thursday's UEFA Europa League qualifying ties. On a busy evening in Europe, Roma's 7-1 win at home to MFK Kosice - for a 10-4 aggregate - and Villarreal's 6-1 success against NAC Breda (9-2 on aggregate) caught the eye.
Roma's Francesco Totti scored the first goal of his hat-trick in the opening minute - adding the others in the sixth and 86th minutes - and although the Italians let one in seven minutes before the break, they were soon sure of progressing after a 3-3 draw in the away leg.
Villarreal had lost their first leg 3-1 but put things right in style - thanks to two first-half penalties from Giuseppe Rossi and four other goalscorers. Breda's only goal came from Edwin De Graaf ten minutes from time.
Hamburg had little trouble with French side Guingamp with a 3-1 home win making for an 8-2 score on aggregate. Robert Tesche scored a brace with Marcus Berg extending the lead before a late consolation from Lionel Mathis.
There were aggregate wins for English clubs Fulham and Everton, 3-2 against Amkar Perm and 5-1 against Sigma Olomouc. But Aston Villa went out on the away goals rule, despite winning 2-1 at home to Rapid Vienna.
Edinburgh club Hearts won 2-0 at home to Dinamo Zagreb, but that was not enough to overturn a 4-0 away-leg deficit. Among the other 38 ties, there were notable victories for PSV Eindhoven (2-0 on aggregate against Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv after a second 1-0 win at home), Hertha Berlin (after a 3-1 away win at Brondby) and Benfica (5-2 on aggregate, despite losing 2-1 away to Vorskla Poltava).
Galatasaray could only draw 1-1 at FC Levadia Tallinn but had a 5-0 buffer from the home leg. Steaua Bucharest won 2-1 at St Patrick's Athletic to go through 5-1 on aggregate.
Other teams to progress to the group stages tonight included Shakhtar Donetsk, Basle, Hapoel Tel Aviv, Hamburg, CSKA Sofia, Heerenveen, Sturm Graz, Dinamo Bucharest, FC Twente, Toulouse, AEK Athens, Slavia Prague, Fenerbahce, Ajax, Lazio, Sparta Prague, Genoa, Werder Bremen, Valencia, Athletic Bilbao and Club Brugge - who needed penalties against KKS Lech Poznan.
In Friday's draw, the 38 play-off winners will be joined by the ten teams defeated in the UEFA Champions League play-off round. They will be split into 12 groups of four teams each.