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Stuttgart through despite Molde defeat

Thursday 6 December 2012 21.06 CET
Molde celebrate Davy Claude Angan's goal

VfB Stuttgart made it a quartet of German clubs in the last 32 of the UEFA Europa League despite defeat at home to Molde FK.

Davy Claude Angan's strike in first-half injury time was enough to earn the already eliminated Norwegian team a second Group E victory over their Bundesliga counterparts, who nonetheless advance after FC København's 1-1 draw with section winners FC Steaua Bucureşti.

Wary that his side required a win to be sure of progression, home coach Bruno Labbadia clearly instructed his charges to get at their opponents from the off. Ibrahima Traoré was among the liveliest with a handful of dangerous runs and crosses on the left, yet the hosts looked susceptible themselves to the pace of Molde attackers Angan and Jo Inge Berget.

Indeed, Stuttgart goalkeeper Sven Ulreich had to halt one Berget breakaway and then a Magnus Eikrem free-kick. First-half substitute Martin Harnik missed a glorious opportunity at the other end after being fed by Vedad Ibišević, but the Swabians could hardly complain when Molde made good on their counterattacking threat on the stroke of half-time, Angan sprinting away before finishing past Ulreich at the second attempt.

Stuttgart resumed after the interval with vigour yet seemed destined not to equalise. Harnik was a constant menace, with three chances either blocked or saved, though it was Ibišević who missed the best of the lot when he somehow guided Christian Gentner's low cross wide.

With a leveller not forthcoming, Stuttgart endured a nervous final few minutes, with København a goal away from leapfrogging them. However, Steaua held firm in the Danish capital, the 1-1 scoreline ensuring Stuttgart took second spot behind the Romanian outfit.

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