Pulis proud but Potters bow out in Valencia

Stoke manager Tony Pulis reflected on a thrilling seven-month adventure to the corners of the continent after his side’s Europa League run was finally brought to an end by Valencia in the last 32 last night.

After beating Hajduk Split in Croatia in their first game on August 4, and coming through a group containing Besiktas, Dynamo Kiev and Maccabi Tel Aviv, Stoke found Champions League regulars Valencia a step too far.

Defeat at home last week left the Potters with a mountain to climb and they might have managed it had Kenwyne Jones taken one of two glorious opportunities, but he fluffed his lines and Jonas’ 24th-minute goal earned Los Che a 1-0 win on the night and a 2-0 win on aggregate.

Pulis said of the run: “It’s been fantastic, we’ve really enjoyed it. It’s given everybody at the club a lift. It’s something we’ve never experienced before.

“Tonight we had a right go. In the first 20 minutes, if we’d just have had a bit of luck, and it just didn’t come.”

Elsewhere last night Eredivisie leaders PSV Eindhoven blazed into the last 16 of the Europa League by wrapping up a 4-1 win on the night and a 6-2 aggregate victory over Trabzonspor.

Udinese hammered PAOK Salonika 3-0 in Greece, putting them through after a 0-0 draw in the first leg.

Former Manchester United striker Mame Biram Diouf scored the only goal as Hannover beat Club Brugge 1-0 to complete a 3-1 aggregate win.

Nacer Chadli’s 29th-minute effort earned FC Twente a 1-0 win over Steaua Bucharest for a 2-0 aggregate victory, while a goalless draw was good enough for Standard Liege to squeeze past Wisla Krakow 1-1 on away goals.

Athletic Bilbao beat Lokomotiv Moscow 1-0 to also advance on away goals on a 2-2 aggregate. Iker Muniain scored the crucial goal two minutes after Fernando Amorebieta saw red on 60 minutes. Bilbao face Manchester United in the next round.

Last year’s runners-up Braga were knocked out despite beating Besiktas 1-0 in Turkey on the night, losing out 2-1 on aggregate.

Atletico Madrid eased home against Lazio with a 1-0 win on the night giving them a 4-1 aggregate success.

Ukrainians Metalist Kharkiv completed an emphatic 8-1 aggregate win over Salzburg with a 4-1 win in Kharkiv, while Greek side Olympiacos rounded off a 2-0 aggregate win over Rubin Kazan with a 1-0 second leg win. Matias Fernandez scored a late winner for Sporting Lisbon against Legia Warsaw, which was enough to see the Portuguese side 3-2 on aggregate after a 1-0 win on the night.

Schalke triumphed over Viktoria Plzen in the only match to go extra-time, with Klaas-Jan Huntelaar completing his hat-trick in extra-time to put the Germans through.

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