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Aston Villa and Celtic both disappoint in Europa League exits

| 27.08.2010

Aston Villa and Celtic were both unexpected British casualties from the Europa League after throwing away the good work they did in the first legs of their qualifying ties ahead of the group stages.

Playing mainly a youth side, Villa collected a 1-1 draw in Austria against Rapid Vienna and this seemed to put them in the driving seat.

Yet, despite picking an almost full-strength team for the return leg, Kevin MacDonald watched his team lose 3-2 at Villa Park and exit the competition against Rapid at the same stage for the second year in succession.

Villa led twice on the night thanks to Gabby Agbonlahor and a rare Emile Heskey strike, while Stiliyan Petrov saw a penalty saved.

And this came back to haunt Villa as Atdhe Nuhiu, Mario Sonnleitner and substitute Rene Gartler sent the visitors through.

Meanwhile, it was the Ricky van Wolfswinkel show in Holland as FC Utrecht overturned a 2-0 first leg deficit against Celtic, with a 4-0 victory.

The frontman helped himself to a hat-trick and Barry Maguire thumped in the fourth from 25 yards, with Utrecht now 150/1 to win the Europa League.

Elsewhere, Jon Daly scored for Dundee United in a 1-1 draw in Greece against AEK Athens, but they were still knocked out 2-1 on aggregate.

And Motherwell fell 3-1 on aggregate to Odense as they lost the second leg 1-0 at home, despite the Danes being reduced to nine men.

Villarreal, FC Porto. Napoli and Borussia Dortmund were among the other clubs to successfully negotiate their two-legged qualifying ties and now enter the draw for the group stages of the Europa League.

Dortmund and Villarreal are both 16/1 to win the Europa League. See the entire winners market.



Ed Needham