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Friday 31 August 2012

Liverpool and Newcastle through to UEFA Europa League group stage

Luis Suarez strikes late to sink Hearts; Haris Vuckic proves Newcastle's matchwinner

Luis Suarez (right) scores Liverpool's late winner against Hearts at Anfield

Liverpool and Newcastle United are through to the group stage of the UEFA Europa League after securing 2-1 aggregate victories against Heart of Midlothian and Atromitos respectively.

Liverpool 1-1 Heart of Midlothian (2-1 agg.)

Liverpool have Luis Suarez to thank for a late winner that secured their qualification for the UEFA Europa League group stage.

Brendan Rodgers's side looked destined to qualify by virtue of their own goal in Edinburgh last week until Hearts silenced the Anfield faithful with five minutes to go when David Templeton's weak shot slipped through Pepe Reina's body and into the net.

With the scores level on aggregate and extra time looming, however, Suarez embarked on a mazy run down the left and beat Jamie McDonald at his near post to produce an 88th-minute winner.

Newcastle 1-0 Atromitos (2-1 agg.)

It was a similarly nervy ride for Newcastle who survived two scares before securing their safe passage into today's draw in Monaco.

After replacing the injured Ryan Taylor early in the first half, midfielder Haris Vuckic gave the Magpies the lead on 21 minutes with his first goal for the club.

Newcastle, who drew 1-1 in the frst leg in Athens, then survived a penalty appeal just before half-time when Chumbinho tumbled under a challenge by Tim Krul, and in the second half Elini Dimoutsos missed the target when clean through on goal.

The hosts held out, though, and can now look forward to a sustained taste of European competition.

The UEFA Europa League group stage draw takes place at 12.00BST at the Grimaldo Forum, Monaco.

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Key Points

  • Luis Suarez spares Liverpool extra time with a late winner against Heart of Midlothian
  • Hearts had levelled five minutes from time after Pepe Reina error
  • Haris Vuckic's first Newcastle goal secures club's place in today's draw