Football: Big names fall by wayside in Europa League
PARIS (AFP) - Several clubs hoping to figure prominently in this season's Europa League will not even feature in Friday's group-stage draw after suffering shock play-off round defeats on Thursday.
Heading the list of victims on Thursday were Italian side Udinese, who failed to overturn a 3-1 first-leg deficit against Slovan Liberec, drawing 1-1 in the Czech Republic, despite fielding a strong team, to bow out of Europe before the end of August.
Elsewhere, Bundesliga club Stuttgart - who last weekend sacked coach Bruno Labbadia and replaced him with youth coach Thomas Schneider - drew 2-2 at hone to Rijeka of Croatia to exit the competition 4-3 on aggregate.
The Germans conceded the decisive goal in the fourth minute of injury time.