PARIS (AFP) – Everton, Tottenham and Celtic all moved to the brink of the Europa League last-32 on Thursday while Dinamo Moscow, Legia Warsaw, Salzburg and Fiorentina ensured their passage to the knockout rounds.
Everton eased past Lille 3-0 at Goodison Park to stay top of Group H with eight points after goals from Leon Osman, Phil Jagielka and a thunderous drive from Steven Naismith.
Rivals Wolfsburg also stayed in contention in the pool with a 5-1 thumping of Krasnador with former Arsenal misfit Nicklas Bendtner scoring twice in the last two minutes.
“One of our biggest assets is that everyone works hard for each other and when we lose the ball we work hard to get it get it back,” said Everton’s Scottish international Naismith.
“That was very evident in the first half and I think that was where we won the game.”
After a taxing week for some of their Premier League rivals in the Champions League, Spurs survived a poor second half display to run out 2-1 winners at Greek side Asteras Tripolis.
Andros Townsend’s penalty and Harry Kane’s quick second goal set the north Londoners up nicely, however Asteras pulled one back via a last minute penalty after Federico Fazio’s red card.
There may have been no repeat of Spurs’ 5-1 rout in which Kane got a hat-trick and Erik Lamela produced his ‘rabona’ goal against the Greeks in London last month.
But in the end it was job done to stretch Tottenham’s unbeaten run in the competition to four.
Spurs are level with Besiktas on eight points in Group C and on their way to the knockout stages with two games remaining.
“We came to get the three points, the result is good and I am happy,” said Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino.
Celtic’s Group D 1-1 draw against Astra Giurgui in Romania was played out in thick fog.
The Scottish champions were fired into the lead by Stefan Johansen only for Brazilian substitute William Amorim to level with a brilliant curling shot to beat Celtic keeper Craig Gordon.
While a win would have seen them safely through to the next round, the draw left them second on eight points, two adrift of Salzburg, 5-2 winners at Dinamo Zagreb.
Jonatan Soriano scored a hat-trick for the Austrians who are safely into the knockout stages. Dinamo Moscow went through from Group E thanks to a 1-0 win at Estoril Praia with Kevin Kuranyi scoring the crucial goal just three minutes after coming off the bench.