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Triple joy for Swiss teams in Europe

Chapuisat (right) is congratulated by team mates after scoring Grasshoppers' second goal

(Keystone)

Grasshoppers Zurich, St Gallen and Servette Geneva completed a memorable night of European football on Thursday, with all three Swiss clubs winning through to the second round of the UEFA Cup.

Grasshoppers down Dinamo

Having secured a 3-1 away win over Dinamo Bucharest in last week's first leg match, Grasshoppers appeared to have the easiest route into the second round - and Hans-Peter Zaugg's side didn't disappoint.

A perfectly chipped goal from Croatian midfielder Mate Baturina fired the Zurich side further ahead after 18 minutes. Just three minutes later, Baturina turned provider - setting up Swiss international striker Stéphane Chapuisat for the second goal of the night.

A second half Romanian penalty converted by Adrian Mihalcea saw the visitors finally get themselves on the scoresheet after 52 minutes, but a late strike from Uruguayan midfielder Gerardo Morales made sure of a Swiss victory, sealing another 3-1 win on the night and an emphatic 6-2 victory overall.

Servette bounce Czechs

After pulling off a narrow 1-0 home win against Slavia Prague seven days previously, Servette still had some work to do in the Czech capital on Thursday.

After scoring the only goal of the first leg, Nigerian midfielder Wilson Oruma seemd to have settled the Genevans' nerves by grabbing a 13th minute goal in the Strahov stadium.

With 20 minutes to go, Servette's Brazilian midfielder Claiton was sent off after being shown a second yellow card, but as time ticked on the Swiss team seemed to be coasting to victory.

That all changed in the 89th minute, though, when Czech defender Adam Petrous scored to put the tie back on a knife-edge.

With Slavia needing just one more goal to grab an unlikely win, Servette's defenders found themselves fully stretched but despite what looked suspiciously like a Genevan handball in the dying seconds of injury time the club held on to win 2-1 overall.

Saints alive

Things weren't much calmer in the Romanian capital, where St Gallen saw their first leg lead wiped out by a Radacanu goal after just 11 minutes.

A fiercely struck second half goal from St Gallen's Brazilian midfielder Guido edged the former Swiss champions back in front, though. Just as in Bucharest, there were some nervy moments late on - including a late rebound off the St Gallen post - but Marcel Koller's men were soon joining in the Swiss celebrations.

Thursday's achievements mean that Switzerland will have three clubs in the second round for the second year in a row. All three will now be hoping for some good fortune on home soil during Friday's draw at UEFA headquarters in the Swiss city of Nyon.

by Mark Ledsom


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