PSG eliminated from Europa League despite win

Posted on by SoccerPunter

Paris Saint Germain may or may not end up offering David Beckham a spell in the ultra-twilight of his career in the City of Light, but the former England star will not find any Europa League fare on his menu after the capital club were eliminated Wednesday.

PSG beat already-qualified Athletic Bilbao 4-2 at the Parc des Princes to hand the Spaniards their first loss of the tournament.

But the win was not enough as Salzburg won 3-2 at Slovan Bratislava to see the Austrians take second place in Group F. That means there is no chance of the Parisians getting an attractive date with Champions League dropouts Manchester United, Beckham’s former club, when Friday’s draw is made at Nyon.

Recent media reports had suggested PSG’s owners, Qatar Sport Investments (QSI), had offered Beckham a lucrative contract to become the figurehead of their drive to turn the under-achieving side into one of Europe’s top clubs.

PSG, joint top of the French Ligue 1 table with Montpellier as they chase down a first domestic crown since 1994, spent 85 million euros in the summer following a Qatari buyout but the influx has not translated into success on the European stage and they now must ensure they reach the Champions League via a strong Ligue 1 finish.

Coach Antoine Kombouare has been under the microscope in recent weeks following some poor results — notably league losses to Marseille and Nancy — and the pressure will now only increase with just the league title to aim for.

PSG sporting director Leonardo had backed the man in charge but it emerged in recent days that the Brazilian had made a pass at currently clubless Carlo Ancelotti.

Elsewhere in early Wednesday action, Lazio reached the last 32 with a 2-0 win over Group D winners Sporting Lisbon.

Elsewhere, English Premier league side Stoke went down 3-1 at Besiktas despite Ricardo Fuller giving them the lead but had already qualified from Group E.

Manuel Fernandes equalised with a penalty spot after Matthew Upson was sent off for felling Hugo Almeida, and substitutes Mustafa Pektemek and Edu secured the win at a heaving Inonu Stadium, leaving the Turks as group winners.

Eight of the 32 sides in the knockout round will comprise United and City’s fellow Champions League failures — Turkey’s Trabzonspor, Ajax, Valencia, Olympiakos, Porto, and Plzen.

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