An extra time goal from on-loan English-born defender Tyrone Mears sent Olympique Marseille into the UEFA Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday. Mears headed in from close range in the 110th minute to secure the Ligue 1 side a 2-2 draw at Ajax Amsterdam, putting them through 4-3 on aggregate. Werder Bremen, who ousted favourites AC Milan in the previous round, also knocked out St Etienne. The Germans, 1-0 up from the first leg, advanced with a 2-2 draw in France. Mears was making a rare start for Marseille after his controversial move from English Championship side Derby County in September. The defender was heavily fined by Derby who said he had left without permission. Then-manager Paul Jewell said Mears would never play for the club again while he was in charge and although the right back returned to Derby, the clubs came to an agreement and the player headed back to Marseille on a year-long loan. Mears scored for Marseille when he pounced to head in a rebound after Boudewijn Zenden's free kick was blocked. Ajax, 2-1 down from the first leg, had forced extra time when Serbia striker Miralem Sulejmani fired them into a 2-1 lead with 16 minutes left of the return leg. OFFSIDE TRAP Earlier, Cameroonian midfielder Eyong Enoh sprung the offside trap to latch on to a Luis Suarez through ball and shoot Ajax ahead after 33 minutes. Marseille hit back two minutes later when Bakari Kone crossed low for an unmarked Mamadou Niang to equalise. Ajax finished with 10 men after defender Bruno Silva was sent off in the closing seconds for elbowing Hatem Ben Arfa. Werder took control against St Etienne after first-half goals from Sebastian Proedl and Claudio Pizarro left the Ligue 1 side needing to score four times to progress. The hosts did not give up though and responded with second-half goals from Yohan Benalouane and Sebastien Grax. The six remaining last-16 second-leg ties take place on Thursday, with holders Zenit St Petersburg needing to overturn a 2-0 defeat at Udinese to remain in the competition. The draw for the quarter-finals and semi-finals will be held in Nyon, Switzerland on Friday.
18 March 2009
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