Europa Leauge: Samba heads Anzhi into knockout stages
Christopher Samba headed Anzhi Makhachkala into the Europa League football knockout stages as his team grabbed a 2-0 home win over Udinese.
Big-spending Anzhi escaped the group stage with a game to spare in their first European campaign for 11 years, while Udinese are out.
Ex-Blackburn Rovers defender Samba headed Anzhi in front on 72 minutes Thursday, rising to meet Mbark Boussoufa's corner.
Three minutes later, three-time Champions League winner Samuel Eto'o combined well with his strike partner Lacina Traore to make it 2-0, latching onto the Ivorian's pass before slicing the ball past goalkeeper Zeljko Brkic.
Udinese's hopes of a comeback were dashed when midfielder Willians was sent off on 80 minutes after picking up a second yellow card.
Anzhi's win means the Caucasus side no longer depend on the result of Thursday's other match between Young Boys Bern and Liverpool, which could decide second place in a competitive group.
Anzhi could have scored more against a largely defensive Udinese side, with Oleg Shatov firing a powerful shot in the first half that Brkic tipped onto the woodwork. Eto'o headed wide soon afterwards.
The match was played in Moscow rather than Anzhi's home province of Dagestan because of UEFA security restrictions.