• Europa League qualifying

Suarez rescues Reina after Euro howler

ESPN staff
August 30, 2012
Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez led the Liverpool attack © Getty Images

Liverpool and Newcastle emerged from the Europa League qualifying play-off round on Thursday, although the Reds only managed to do so after a howler from Pepe Reina at Anfield.

Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool side took a 1-0 advantage into their second leg encounter against Hearts at Anfield and, having fielded a strong side including Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez, they drew 1-1 on the night to advance 2-1 on aggregate.

The Merseysiders dominated for 86 minutes on home soil, wasting a hatful of chances before Reina handed Hearts a lifeline. The Spaniard spilled a tame 25-yarder from David Templeton into his net to beckon extra-time, but Suarez responded immediately with a solo goal to get the job done inside 90 minutes.

Rodgers fielded a sprinkling of youngsters in his starting XI, most notably Adam Morgan, who started alongside Suarez up front. The Academy product had the ball in the net in the first half, but his tap-in was chalked off with the ball already out of play before the cross was delivered.

Suarez wasted a glorious chance in the second period when he rounded the keeper, opting to delay rather than roll the ball into the empty net, eventually hitting an upright. Raheem Sterling was later introduced and produced several moments of wizardry as the Hearts goal lived a charmed life.

However, it was Reina who needed some good fortune as Suarez rescued him from some unwanted headlines at the death, the Uruguayan advancing past the Hearts defence to drill low into the keeper's near corner.

Newcastle also had an advantage when hosting Atromitos of Athens at St James' Park, knowing a scoreless draw would see them through. Alan Pardew's men did not play for the draw though, triumphing 1-0 on the night thanks to Haris Vuckic to progress 2-1 on aggregate.

The 20-year-old Slovenia international struck 21 minutes into the second leg, having replaced the injured Ryan Taylor as a substitute. It was Vuckic's first senior goal for the club.

Elsewhere, Motherwell needed a miraculous turnaround when taking a 2-0 deficit to Levante, but they were finished off by the Spaniards in a 3-0 aggregate loss.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.