Channel NewsAsia

Football: Hull survive fright to record maiden Europa League win

English Premier League side Hull City recovered from the loss of an early away goal to beat Slovakian upstarts Trencin 2-1 and qualify for the Europa League play-offs on Thursday (Aug 7).

PARIS: English Premier League side Hull City recovered from the loss of an early away goal to beat Slovakian upstarts Trencin 2-1 and qualify for the Europa League play-offs on Thursday (Aug 7).

Hull, who qualified for European competition for the first time in their long history after losing to Arsenal in last season's FA Cup final, only managed a 0-0 draw in last week's first leg in western Slovakia and that left them vulnerable to the concession of an away goal in the return.

And Trencin, runners-up in the Slovakian top flight last season, stunned their hosts at the KC Stadium when giant forward Tomas Malec opened the scoring inside two minutes.

That left Steve Bruce's side needing to score twice without reply to progress but Egyptian Ahmed Elmohamady equalised on the night just before the half-hour mark and substitute Sone Aluko netted the winner with 10 minutes remaining.

The Tigers will discover who awaits them in the play-off round when the draw is made on Friday, when fellow Premier League representatives Tottenham Hotspur enter the competition, with both teams hoping to join Everton in the group stage.

"You're always worried when there's 15 minutes to go and you're thinking about all the hype and euphoria, but you're about to fall at the first hurdle," said Bruce. "But we've stuck at it and, not for the first time, we've seen them do it. It's been difficult but we've got through it and let's enjoy the draw tomorrow."

Celtic are now Scotland's only surviving representative in European competition after Aberdeen and Scottish Cup holders St Johnstone were both knocked out on Thursday.

Aberdeen put up a brave fight against Real Sociedad at Pittodrie but went down 3-2 on the night to the Spanish side to lose 5-3 on aggregate.

Meanwhile, the prolific Stevie May scored as St Johnstone drew 1-1 away to Spartak Trnava in Slovakia, but a 2-1 defeat in last week's first leg cost them dear.

Celtic parachute into the Europa League play-offs after comprehensively losing 6-1 on aggregate to the Polish champions Legia Warsaw in the Champions League third qualifying round.

Elsewhere, PSV Eindhoven, Torino and Lyon were among the teams to progress, although German Bundesliga outfit Mainz were surprisingly beaten by Greek club Asteras, losing 3-1 on the night to go out 3-2 on aggregate.