28 Aug 2009

Aston Villa out of Europe

11:53 am on 28 August 2009

Aston Villa is out of the new Europa football League after losing their play-off to Rapid Vienna on the away goals rule.

After giving away the crucial home goal in the 2-1 win, coupled with the 1-0 away defeat to the Austrians, the second leg result for Birmingham's top Premier League side condemned Martin O'Neill's team to another poor season in Europe.

Liverpool's second Premier League team Everton will keep playing in the second-string competition however, after cruising through their tie with Sigma Olomouc 5-1 on aggregate, following a 1-1 draw in the Czech Republic.

Londoners Fulham are also through.

Others to progress include France's Toulouse, AS Roma of Italy, PSV Eindhoven, Twente Enschede and Ajax Amsterdam from the Netherlands, Romania's Steaua Bucharest, Benfica of Portugal, Turkish side Fenerbahce, Germany's Hamburg, Werder Bremen and Hertha Berlin, Genoa and Lazio of Italy and Spaniards Villarreal and Valencia.

Surprisingly the defending champions of the former UEFA Cup, Zenit St Petersburg of Russia, bowed out early, losing 5-4 on aggregate to Portuese side Nacional Madeira after a 1-1 home draw.